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PERSIA! LAND OF THE IMAMS. 



PERSIA 



THE LAND OF THE IMAMS 



A NARRATIVE OF TRAVEL AND RESIDENCE 
1871-1885 



BY 

JAMES BASSETT 

MISSIONARY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN BOARD 




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BLACKIE & SON 

49 AND 50 OLD BAILEY 

GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN 

1887 



PREFACE. 



The name Persia is not known to the people inhabiting 
the country so called by Europeans. Persians call 
their land, Eran. This name is evidently from Arya 
or Ariya, whence we have the form Iranian and Iran. 
The term Persia comes to us from the Greeks, who 
derived it from the term Fars or Pars, the designation, 
at this time, of a province of Eran. The country 
called Persia has been designated by several terms 
which were emblematic only; as, "The Land of Fire," 
to denote the worship of fire ; " The Land of the Sun," 
expressive of the brilliancy of the sunlight, and possibly 
in allusion to the reverence paid to the sun ; " The 
Land of the Lion and the Sun," since the flag of Persia 
has the device of the sun in the form of a human face 
peering above the back of a lion. The device is the 
symbol of intelligence, light, power and justice. Per- 
sians frequently call their country, " Memlakate Asna 
Asherain," or the Kingdom of the Twelve, meaning by 
this the twelve Imams of the house of Ale. 



PREFACE. 



The traveller in that land will find in all the people 
the evidence of the power of the religious system bear- 
ing this name. The people of all classes invoke the 
names of the Imams. The dervishes cry these names 
by day and by night ; the beggars in the highways ask 
alms in these names, and the shrines of the Sayeds 
sanctify many a hill and valley. I have therefore en- 
titled this book, The Land of the Imams, considering 
the term an appropriate designation, and calculated 
to call attention to the most prominent feature of the 
country at this time. 

In eleven chapters, I have given a narrative of ex- 
tended tours, and have given such information as 
seemed to be most profitable and interesting. In the 
remaining five chapters, I have endeavoured to give, in 
a comprehensive form, information obtained in the 
course of travel, and during a residence of eleven 1 
years in that country. My sources of information, 
therefore, have been my own observations. So far as 
it has been necessary to refer to the past, I have drawn 
chiefly from Persian writers. The narrative begins in 
the year 1 871, but covers any changes occurring in 
the state of the country to the close of 1884. In the 
orthography of Persian and Arabic names, I have en- 
deavoured to adhere to the Persian and Arabic forms. 

1 This term is exclusive of a brief period when the writer was absent 
from the country. 



PREFACE. 



In some instances this, however, did not seem to be 
expedient 

The years covered by these pages were years of 
some important changes in Persia. It has been my 
purpose to note these events ; and to treat of several 
subjects which are but little known to transient tour- 
ists, or which are erroneously stated by them, if re- 
ferred to at all. 

. The map has been prepared by the author at the 
suggestion of the publishers. It exhibits the routes 
travelled. In the preparation of it, special attention 
has been given to details of the eastern border of 
Persia. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 



Routes to Persia — Constantinople — The Bosphorus — Pera — Galata 
— Scutari — Ancient Chalcedon — Quays — Ancient City — Antiqui- 
ties — St. Sophia — Protestant Missions — Americans — Voyage to 
Trebizond — Black Sea — Trebizond — Antiquity — Capture by 
Goths — Fate of the City — Population of the Modern City — 
Ancient Structures — Commercial Relations of the City, . . . 



CHAPTER II. 

Coast of the Black Sea — Roads and Distances — Customs of Travel 
— Cajavahs — Taktravan — Chavidars — Manner of Loading a Car- 
avan — Road to Gumish Khanah — First Manzil — Tent Life — A 
Night Encampment — Bulut Dah or Village of the Clouds — 
Mountain Pass — Gumish Khanah — Beyburt — The Euphrates 
Valley, or Kara Su — Illijah — Erzeroum — Antiquities — The Plain 
— Climate — Present Condition of the City — Armenian Establish- 
ment — American Missionaries — Hassan Kalah — Boundary of 
Armenia and Kurdistan — Eastern Branch of the Euphrates — 
Hoshean — Ararat — Paskek — Kara Kallesia the Black Church — 
Troglodytes — Utch Kallesia — The Stage to Kizil Diza — Yezdees 
— Principal Tenets — Rites — Boundary between Turkey and Per- 
sia — The Land of the Shah — Descent to the Plain of Khoy — 
Pa Baba — Pass to the Plain of Salmas — Plain of Salmas — Mis- 
sions of the Plain — Pass to Gavalan — The Plain of Oroomiah 
Sea or Lake — The Shahe Sea — The Shores of the Sea — Gavalan 
— Mission Premises and Early Enterprise — Ride to Oroomiah — 
Approach to the City — Death of Mr. Cochran, 14 

IX 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III. 

Oroomiah — Population and Races — Location of the Missions — 
Environs — Climate, etc. — Productions of the Plain — Govern- 
ment of the District — Ardashir Khan — American Missionaries 
— Summary of the History of the Nestorians — Patriarchate of 
Mosul and Mar Elias — Of the Mar Shimoons — The Chaldean 
Nestorians — Distinguishing Tenets — Present Condition and 
Chief Characteristics — Effect of Missionary Effort — Statistics 
of the Mission in the Thirty-fourth year — Number of Nestorians 
— Ecclesiastical Organizations — Condition of Persia with refer- 
ence to Missions in 1871 — Language used — Schools — Press — 
Statistics — Stations and Out-stations — Method of Control, ... 41 

CHAPTER IV. 

Departure from Oroomiah — Gavalan — Salmas — Alekand — Dela- 
mon — Construction of the Houses — Decoration — Kalasar— • 
Balakhanah — Kara Tapa — Sheik Walle — Course to Tabriz — 
Valley of the Adje Tchai — Distances — Diza Khalel — Ale Shah 
—Position of Tabriz— Aras Road— Telegraph— H. B. M. Con- 
sulate — Tabriz — Atropatene — Tavreez and Tauris — Tradition of 
Zobaide — Legend of the Cross — Armenians — Their Schools — 
Church — Number of Armenians in the Western Diocese — From 
Tabriz to Vasbinge — Stations to Meana — Aspect of the Country 
— Roads and Robbers — Punishments — Swift Retribution — Turk- 
man Tchai — Famine — Descent to Meana — Valley of the Meana 
Tchai— The Village of Meana— Suffering from Famine — Ascent 
of the Koflan Kuh— Altitude— Description of the Mountain — 
The Kizil Uzen — Road to Jemalabad — The Village— Road to 
Zengan — Sirtchem — Nikpey — The Inn — Lutees and Amuse- 
ments — Valley of the Uzen — Approach to Zengan — Mortality 
by Famine and Disease — Importance of Zengan — Resistance of 
the Babees in Zengan, 57 



CHAPTER V. 

Zengan to Sultaneah— Palace of Fattah Ale Shah— Founding of 
Sultaneah — Principal Structures — Mausoleum of Mullah Hassan 



CONTENTS. xi 



Kashe — Altitude and Position of Sultaneah — Route to Casveen 
— Horumdarah — Famine — Abhar, its Location and History — 
Unreasonable Identification with Habor — Valley and Villages of 
the Kemah Rud — Seadum — Tat — Road to Casveen — Wells and 
Connaughts — Perils of Travel— Situation of Casveen — Gardens 
and Productions — History — Population — Routes to Tehran — 
Departure from Casveen — Night Marches — Anxiety of the Per- 
sians and Imaginary Dangers — Haunts of the Assassins — The 
Story of Hassan — The Name Assassin — The Kurdish Warrior — 
An Episode — Kishlak to Tehran — Coal Mines — Karaj- — The 
River and Village — Water Course to Tehran — Road from Karaj 
to Tehran — Approach to Tehran — Position of the City — Posi- 
tion of Raghes and Ra — Entrance to Tehran — Situation — Rise 
to Importance — Changes in the City and its Improvement — Gates 
— Desert and Aspect of the Environs — Heat and Reptiles, . . 78 



CHAPTER VI. 

Principal Structures of Tehran — Streets and Gates — Palace of the 
Sun — War Department — King's College — King's Treasury — 
King's Stables — Gardens — Gulishan — Lala Zar or Garden of 
Tulips — Tob Maidon or Place of the Cannon — Mosques of 
Tehran — Names of Precincts — The Bazaars — Soldiers — .Water 
— Public Baths — British Legation — Quarters of the Armenians 
and Jews — Poie Kopak the Place of Execution — Palaces of the 
Shah on Shimron — Population of Tehran — Different Races — 
Origin of Jewish Colony — The Armenians — Graves of Euro- 
peans — Guebers of Tehran — Tower of Silence — Importance 
of Tehran — Telegraph Corps — The Shah — Habits of Life — 
Character — Famine in Tehran — Relief — Mortality among the 
Jews, 



CHAPTER VII. 

Departure for Hamadan — March by Moonlight — Altitude of the 
Country — Khanabad Ruins — Kushak — Pass of the Karaghan 
Mountains — Bevaron — Altitude of the Pass — Damavand — Jour- 
ney to the Armenian Villages of Karaghan — Condition of the 



CONTENTS. 



Armenians — Armenian Priest — Origin of the Colony — From Lar 
to Nobaron — Pass of the Yebel Islam — From Bevaron to Nobar- 
on — The Village of Nobaron — Zara — River — Malagird — Victims 
of Famine — Alvand — Village of Shevarin — Situation of Hama- 
dan — Altitude of the Plain and of Alvand — Ancient Cities — 
Dejoces — Ecbatana — Construction of the City — Ancient Splen- 
dour — Cyrus — Identity of Achmetha and Ecbatana — Destruction 
of the City by Timour — Antiquities — Water Courses — Mauso- 
leum of Avicinna — Population — Reduction by Famine and 
Cholera — Protestants — Antiquity of the Jewish Colony — The 
Shrine of Esther and Mordecai — Condition of the Armenians — 
Trade of Hamadan — Telegraph — From Hamadan to Oroomiah 
— Kamkase and Chibooklee — Altitude of the Country — Situa- 
tion of Senah — Departure from Senah — Kurdish Villages — Souj 
Bolak — Sulduz — Country between Sulduz and Ravanduz — Mid- 
night Manzil — Return to Seir — Tour of Mr. Stocking to Mosul 
and Death of Mrs. Stocking — Departure from Oroomiah for 
Tehran, 1 19 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Journey to Ispahan — General Features of the Country" — Kanara- 
gird — City of Koom — The Mausoleum of Fatimah — Sinsin — 
Kashan — Plain of Ispahan — Entrance to the City — Ride toward 
Julfah — The Zandah Rud — Antiquity of Ispahan — Persian His- 
tory — Population — Origin of the Colony of Jews — Ruins — 
Bridges — Avenues — Maidone Shah — Madrassahe Shah — Chehar 
Bogh — Chehil Sutun — Shaking Minarets — The River — Julfah — 
Character' of the Colony — Relation to the Sufee Kings — The 
Ecclesiastical Establishment — The Archbishop — Diocese and 
Revenues — Roman Catholic Mission — Famine — Aid to Sufferers 
— Mr. Bruce — His Mission — Business of the Armenians— Trade 
of Ispahan — The Governor — The Sheik al Islam — Favourable 
Situation — Ruined State of Ispahan and Julfah, 145 

CHAPTER IX. 

From Tehran to the Black Sea — Routes — Ride to Casveen — Ride 
to Mazarah — Chapar and Caravan — The Hazan Pass — From 



CONTENTS. 



Hazan to Poie Chinar — Poie Chinar — The Shah Rud, or King 
River — Treeless and Forest Regions — Furious Winds — The 
Safeed Rud — Olive Groves — Rustumabad — Rice fields and 
Booths — From Rustumabad to Kudum — The People — Their 
Dwellings — Herds of Cattle — Ride to Rasht — Country between 
Rasht and Pere Bazaar — Navigation to Anzile — The Mord Aub 
— Situation of Anzile — Persian Ships and Russian Control — 
Mail Steamers — The Mechyle — Use of Petroleum for Fuel — 
Astara and Lankoran — Natural Harbour — Islands — Environs of 
Baku — Customs — Appearance — Population and Importance — 
Public Buildings — Languages — Cape — Apsheran — Petroleum 
Wells — Fire Temple — Transportation of Oil — Water of Baku — 
Russian Post — Country between Baku and Shirwan — Shirwan 
and Shamakha — Earthquakes — Sargis — The sect of the Molakans 
— Routes to Tiflis — Descent from the Caucasus — Rivers — Aug 
Tchai — River Cyrus or Kur — Gangah — Gessan — Situation of 
Tiflis — Altitude and Climate — Antiquity — Population — Empo- 
rium — From Tiflis to Pote — Climate of Pote, and Mortality — 
Batoum — Russian Customs — Railway to Baku — Decline of Tiflis 
— People of the Caucasus — Return to Tehran, 159 



CHAPTER X. 

From Tehran to Mashhad — Plain of Varomene — Site of Raghes 
— Arsacia — The Jorje Rud — Aw r anakafe — Passes of the Elburz 
and Roads — The Sardarak — Ruins — Conjectures as to the Pass 
called the Caspian Gates — Singular Speech of Simnon — Water 
Supply — The Kalah of Losgird — Simnon — The Mosque of 
Fattah Ale Shah — The Plain of Damgan — Ride to Dah Mullah 
— To Shah Rud — To Khairabad — The Azon — Maia. Mai — Meon 
Dasht — The Cisterns — Narrative of Captivity among Turkmans 
— Situation of Meon Dasht — March to Abasabad — The Springs 
— The Chasm — Situation of Abasabad — Curious Marriage Cus- 
tom — Route between Abasabad and Mazenan — The Kara Su — 
Sadrabad — Mazenan — Mahr — To Sabzewar — City of Sabzewar 
— Dangers of Travel by Caravan — Missionaries of the Bab — 
Ride to Zafaran — To Shore Aub — The Station Shore Aub — Road 
to Nishapoor — Cheman — Plain of Nishapoor — The City — Antiq- 



xiv CONTENTS. 



uity of the Place — Schools — Turquoise Mines — Persian Serpent 
and Scorpion Charmers, 189 

CHAPTER XL 

Leave Nishapoor — Kadam Gah — Torook — Transportation of dead 
bodies — The country about Mashhad — Revenues of the Shrine — 
Salutations of the Pilgrims — Aspect of the City — Burial Place 
of Haroun al Rasheed — The Harem — Its Construction and 
Decoration — Expenditure of Funds — Miracles — Jins or Demons 
— Power of the Mullahs — Sacred Character of the Asylum — 
Number of Pilgrims — Massacre of Jews and their Conversion to 
Islam — The Synagogue Tablet — Character and Occupation of 
the Jews — The Country to Sarakhs — The Turkmans in Mashhad 
— Natural Resources of this Section of the Country — Importance 
of Mashhad — Climate and Health — Country of the Turkmans 
— Relative Strength of the Tribes — The Takahs as Compared 
with other Tribes — Country inhabited by Takahs — Present Town 
of Merv — Gaghatai — Superstition and Jewish Exorcists — Gov- 
ernment and Morals — Turkman Horses — Kizil Bashees — Dele- 
gation of Turkmans in Tehran — Ravages of the Russian Border 
and the Caspian Coast by Turkmans — The Situation in 1880 
— Advance of Russians and the Situation in 1885 — The Present 
and Prospective Railway to Panj Dah — To the Indus — Effect on 
Persia, 218 

CHAPTER XII. 

Area of Persia — Desert of Khorasan — The Interior of Persia — 
The Shores of the Seas and Altitudes — Mountain Ranges — 
Highest Peaks — Intermediate Mountains — Rivers — Irrigation — 
Heat — Changes of Seasons and the Diseases of the Country — 
The Caspian Coast — Soil — Productions — Cattle and Horses — 
Connaughts and their Cost — Gardens — Agricultural Implements 
— Raising of Stock — Coal and Minerals — Population — Roving 
Bands — State of Civilization — Languages — Literature — Scribes 
— Description of a Persian Book — Internal Improvements — Com- 
merce — Cost of Living — Causes Preventing Improvement — Im- 
ports — Exports — Carpets — Persian Earthenware and Glass — Silk 



CONTENTS. xv 



and Velvet — Steel — Old Work — Porcelain — Rare Articles — 
Bricks and Masonry.- — Engraving — Hatim — Kalamdans — Mills 
— Wine — Process of Manufacture — Arak or Brandy — Unintoxi- 
cating Drink — Condition of the People — Social Customs — Salu- 
tations — The Sandals — Entertainment of Guests — Baths — Toilet 
of an Old School Persian — Habits of Life — Meals — Drunken- 
ness — Penalty for — The Precepts of Mohammed as to Drink — 
Use of Opium — Sherbets and Drinks — Food — Women in Public 
— Social Entertainments of Women — Of Men — Marriage Rites 
— Funerals — Amusements — Persian Houses — Palaces — Anda- 
rune and Berune — Musical Instruments and Musical Taste — 
Music Excluded from Worship — Vocal Music — Introduction of 
Foreign Customs, 248 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Government of Persia — Absolute Authority of the Shah — 
Officers of the Government — Army — Administration — Govern- 
ors — Assessments — The Sar or Capitation Tax — The Mall — The 
Land Tax — Begaree — Revenue — Tenure of Land — Title Deeds 
— The Governor or Hoykim — Sadr Azam — Personal Liberty of 
the Ryot — The Three Departments of Government — The Oorf — 
The Sharah — Appeal — Relations of the Two Courts — Mode of 
Trial — Punishments — Sanctuary — Where afforded — Price of 
Blood — Imprisonment for Debt — Bankrupts — Resistance to the 
Shah and Protection by Asylum — The Currency — Postal System 
— Bribery — Slavery — Laws Regulating Marriage — Rights of the 
Covenanted or Ahdah and of the Sekah — Part performed by 
the Mullah — Abject state of the Harij or Mutee Islam — Practice 
in Hamadan — Particular Grievances of the Mutee or Alien Sub- 
ject — Rights of Foreigners determined by Treaty, 274 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Religion of the King and Ruling Races — The Athna Asherain — 
Review of the Rise of the Sect — Abu Beker and the three first 
Khalafahs — Ale and his Assassination — Moaveyah — The Dynasty 
of the Ammeyah — Rise of the Abasidees — Condition of the 



CONTENTS. 



• House of Ale during the Reigns of the Khalafahs — Princes of 
the House of Buyah — Suljuks — Hassan Saba and the Assassins 
— Division of the Country — With the Ata Begs — Mogul Princes 
and their Toleration — The Twelve Imams proclaimed by Khoda- 
band — Tamouridees — Rise of the House of Ismael or the Sufees 
— The King of the Sheahs — Supremacy of the Sect of the Athna 
Asherain — Distinguishing Tenet of the Sect — Doctrine as to the 
Mahde or the Riser — The Babees — Attempt to Assassinate the 
Shah — Death of the Conspirators — Ale Allahees — Curious Rites 
of — Sheikees and Mutasharahees — Sufees — Their Philosophical 
System — Relation of the .Founder of the Sufee Dynasty to the 
Imams — Doctrinal Development of the Sect of the Twelve — 
Religious Literature of the Twelve — The Sheah call to Prayer — 
Divine Nature of Ale Claimed — Vicarious Death — The Sayeds 
— Superstitions of the People — The Most Holy Shrines — Cele- 
brated Schools of the Sect of the Twelve — Principal Ceremonies 
— The Takeahs and the Tazeahs — Public Assemblies — Religious 
Orders — Mullahs — Imam Juma — Peesh Namaz — Wais — Mujta- 
heed — Revenues — Dervishes — Privileges of the Sayeds — Hon- 
orary Titles Conferred on Mullahs — Theological Schools — Their 
Support, 292 

CHAPTER XV. 

Remnants of Captive Races, or the Non-Mohammedan Sects of Per- 
sia — The Guebers — Zardosht or Zoroaster — Earliest Condition 
of Zoroastrianism — Number of the Guebers — Chief Tenets — 
Towers of Silence — Public Worship — Future Punishment — 
Morals — Virtues — The Jews of Persia — Number — Religious 
Affinities — Corruption of Religion and Language — Disreputable 
Pursuits — The Armenians — Number — Origin — Skeptics — Antiq- 
uity of the Armenian Race — The Ecclesiastical Rule — Introduc- 
tion of Christianity to the Country — Gregory — Ecclesiastical 
System — Separation from the Catholic Church — Invention of 
Letters and Translation of the Scriptures — Orders of the Clergy 
— Ordination and Marriage of the Clergy — Doctrinal System — 
Feast and Fast Days — Marriage — Armenian Colonies — The Cap- 
tives of 1603 — Passage of the Aras — Settlements — Priests — In- 
fluence of Armenians — Distinguishing Features of the Race, . 31 1 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Mission Establishments in Persia — Missions in 1870 — In 1884 — 
Question as to the Direction of Missionary Effort — Problem as 
to the Use of the Persian Language — Prejudices of the Sects — 
Testimony of Figures — First Schools — Public Worship — School 
for Jews — Circulation of Scriptures — Influence with the Persian 
Government — Medical Department — The Mission in Tabriz — 
The Mission in Hamadan — Interest among the Jews — Organi- 
zation of the Eastern and the Western Persia Missions — Bible 
Agencies — Statistics of all the American Missions in Persia — 
The Chief Obstacles to Mission Work — The Religious Liberty 
of Non-Mohammedans declared — Restrictions Imposed by the 
Archbishop — Misrepresentations of the Missionaries — Ostracism 
of Protestants — Persecution of Jews in Hamadan — Similar Op- 
position in Oroomiah — The Law of Islam as to Apostasy — No 
Rights Secured by Treaty — The Unrestricted Sale of the Scrip- 
tures — Publication in Persian — Fanaticism — Unsettled Faith of 
the People — First Representative of United States Government 
to the Court of Persia — American Missionaries — Their Protection 
— Benefits accruing to from Influence of United States Minister, 327 



PERSIA: 
THE LAND OF THE IMAMS 



CHAPTER I. 



Routes to Persia — Constantinople — The Bosphorus — Pera — Galata — 
Scutari — Ancient Chalcedon — Quays — Ancient City — Antiquities— 
St. Sophia — Protestant Missions — Americans — Voyage to Trebizond 
— Black Sea — Trebizond — Antiquity — Capture by Goths — Fate of 
the City — Population of the Modern City — Ancient Structures — 
Commercial Relations of the City. 

There are several routes through Europe and West- 
ern Asia to Persia. The most direct and available 
route is thought to be from Odessa by steamer to 
Batoum, near the southeastern extremity of the Black 
Sea; thence by railroad to Tiflis. From this city 
there is a good post road to the river Aras, the boun- 
dary between Russia and Persia. From this river, 
the journey to Tabriz may be made by caravan or by 
post-horses. There are no post wagons in Persia 
except on the road from Casveen to Tehran. 

Travellers for Central and Eastern Persia who do 



2 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [i. 

not wish to follow the tedious journey of near four 
hundred miles from Tabriz to Tehran, should pass 
by the railway from Tiflis to Baku. The latter place 
is situated on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, 
and has a commodious harbour. The passage from 
Baku to Anzile may be made by the mail steamers of 
the Caucasus and Mercury Line in from twenty-four 
to thirty-six hours. Anzile is the chief port of the 
Persian coast. There is, however, no harbour here for 
other than very small ships. Large boats are unable 
to cross the bar which lies over the outlet of the bay 
called Mord Aub ; they therefore anchor in the road- 
stead. In stormy weather the landing is effected with 
difficulty, if at all, in small flat-bottomed row boats. 

Freight and passengers are conveyed in these boats 
from Anzile across the Mord Aub. The passage 
usually takes from three to five hours. From the 
Mord Aub there is a row up a small creek to Pere 
Bazaar. A dilapidated and filthy Custom House is 
the only building in the place. From Pere Bazaar to 
the city of Rasht, there is a fair road constructed 
through the jungle. The distance is about six miles. 
Rude carts or horses may be obtained for the trans- 
portation of passengers and luggage to Rasht. From 
this city to Casveen, the distance is about one hundred 
and twenty-five miles, and the journey is made either 
by caravan or by post. Wheeled vehicles cannot be 
driven over the passes of the Elburz mountains. 
Caravans may be obtained in Rasht for Casveen. At 



L] ROUTES TO PERSIA. 3 

the latter city, post wagons may be hired to Tehran. 
The distance is about one hundred miles. 

The route from Odessa to Anzile is not in all re- 
spects the best. That by way of Berlin, Warsaw, 
Czaritzin and Astrakan, is, in my judgment, better 
and quicker. At Astrakan passengers and baggage 
are transferred from the large steamers of the Volga 
to barges ; these are towed over the shallow water of 
the delta to the roadstead called Nine Foot. Here 
there is another transfer to the steamers of the Cau- 
casus and Mercury Line. These steamers run to Baku, 
touching at Petrovsk and Derbend. From Baku, 
steamers of this line run to the eastern shore of the 
Caspian Sea, and southward to near Astrakan. Other 
steamers of this company run from Baku to Anzile, as 
above stated. 

A more circuitous route than either of the two routes 
described, is by way of Berlin, St. Petersburg, and 
Moscow to Nidjni Novgorod, and thence by steamer 
down the Volga River to Astrakan. 

A railway is now being completed on the northern 
side of the Caucasus mountains to Petrovsk. When 
finished it will obviate the necessity of the voyage from 
Astrakan to Petrovsk, and will enable the traveller to 
Persia to avoid the Black Sea. 

It is possible to go from Marseilles by steamer, direct 
to Batoum. 

The voyage from London to Bushire, via the Isthmus 
of Suez and Persian Gulf is made in from four to six 



THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. 



weeks' time. The journey from Bushire to Tehran by 
caravan requires thirty-five to forty days, and should 
not be undertaken in the late spring or summer 
months. 

The route from Damascus to Bagdad, and thence to 
Tehran may appear to be the most direct ; but it is 
impracticable, owing to the desert, the Arabs, and the 
great heat to be met with in the route west of Bagdad. 
This city is distant from Tehran about eighteen days' 
journey by caravan. The only seasons of the year 
favourable for travel in Northern Persia are the autumn 
and spring months. Of the two seasons, the autumn 
is the more favourable. The destination of myself and 
party was Oroomiah, in Western Persia. We sailed 
from New York on the 9th of August, 1871. We went 
via Liverpool, London, Ostend, Vienna, Rustchuk and 
Varna, and arrived in Constantinople on the first of Sep- 
tember. At that time the railway from Poti to Tiflis 
had not been completed. The most available route 
therefore for us, was from Trebizond through Eastern 
Turkey and Armenia. 

It was necessary that we should stop at Constan- 
tinople, in order to make preparations for the journey 
by caravan from Trebizond. Although much has been 
written about Constantinople, yet some account of the 
city may be of interest to the reader of these pages. 
The chief feature of the situation of this famous city 
is the Bosphorus. It flows from the Black Sea to the 
sea of Marmora, at the rate of about three miles an 



I.] CONSTANTINOPLE. 5 

hour, and in a current fifty fathoms deep. The hills 
on either side are high, and are covered with the nu- 
merous and varied structures of the city. Constanti- 
nople, properly so called, forms a small part of that 
which is commonly known by that name. 

There are three principal divisions, known as Pera, 
Galata and Istamboul. The two first were suburbs. 
The last named represents in its Turkish form the 
ancient Constantinople. Pera occupies a hill, and the 
European legations and foreign residents are, for the 
most part, in it. Galata is situated on a peninsula 
between the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It con- 
sists chiefly of bazaars and shops. The Golden Horn 
is the name of an arm of the Bosphorus, and is seven 
miles long ; it appears as a tributary flowing into the 
larger channel. 

Istamboul is the Turkish name of the city south of 
the Golden Horn, and between that strait and the Sea 
of Marmora. It is believed that this name is a cor- 
ruption of the phrase used by the Greeks of the 
suburbs, eis teen polin, meaning to the city. It came 
into use during the siege of the city by the Turks. 

On the eastern shore of the Bosphorus, and opposite 
Galata, is the suburb Scutari, occupying the heights 
once commanded by Chrysopolis. A short distance 
south of this is the site of the ancient Chalcedon. The 
quays along the Bosphorus in front of Pera extend to 
Buyukdere, a distance of nine miles. 

The most ancient city constructed on the site now 



6 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [i. 

occupied by Istamboul is said to have been founded 
by the ancient mariner Bazos in the year B.C. 656 or 
657. From its founder the city received the name 
Byzantium. It became the capital of a kingdom, 
which was taken by the Romans a. d. 73. In a rebel- 
lion against Rome it sustained a siege of three years' 
continuance, against the armies of the Emperor Sev- 
erus, and surrendered only to famine a. d. 196. In 
the year a. d. 323, Byzantium was taken by Con- 
stantine, and in the following year the rebuilding and 
enlargement under the order of the emperor began. 
Six or ten years later the work was completed, and 
the city was dedicated under the name New Rome ; 
but the name City of Constantine given by the popu- 
lace, either in praise or derision, as denoting the par- 
tiality of the emperor, survived the name formally 
bestowed. At the first, five of the seven hills of the 
peninsula were inclosed, the sixth and seventh were 
included later. The extreme length of the city was 
about three Roman miles, and the circumference nearly 
eleven miles. 

The chief structures in the days of Constantine 
were the Forum, in the centre of which was a lofty 
column often pieces of porphyry on a base of marble, 
and one hundred and twenty feet high and thirty- 
three feet in circumference, and surmounted by the 
statue of Apollo ; the Circus or Hippodrome, four hun- 
dred paces in length, and one hundred paces in breadth. 
Between the Hippodrome and the church of St. So- 



I.] CHURCH OF ST. SOPHIA. 7 

phia was the splendid palace of the emperor. To 
these structures may be added baths, schools, palaces 
and churches. It is said that nearly every heathen 
temple in Asia was despoiled of its richest ornaments 
to embellish some structure in New Rome. 

The church of St. Sophia, or Eternal Wisdom, 
constructed under the order of Constantine, was twice 
burned. It was rebuilt by the emperor Justinian. 
The foundations of the 'new and present edifice were 
laid A. D. 532. The structure was completed in five 
years, eleven months, and ten days, and cost the 
equivalent of at least one million pounds sterling, a 
sum which in those times would represent a greater 
value than now. 

Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern 
Empire on the division of the Roman dominions a. d. 
364, and it continued to be the seat of government of 
Greeks or Latins, until taken by the Turks under 
Mohammed II. on the second day of May, a. d. 1453, 
since which time it has remained a possession of the 
Turks, and the capital of the Ottoman Empire. 

As I wanted to see as much of the city as was pos- 
sible for me to see in a short time, I hired a horse and 
a guide. The horse had frequently been ridden in 
explorations of this sort. The guide turned out to 
be the man who served Mark Twain in a like 
capacity, and whose features have been exhibited to 
the public in a wood cut which graces the pages of 



8 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [i. 

that writer's journal. I had taken but a few steps 
when my guide in broken English informed me that 
I must know him, because his name and picture were 
in Mark "Thwain's" book. 

By giving a few francs I was permitted to wear 
boots in going through the Mosque into which the 
church of St. Sophia has been converted. I noticed 
on one of the splendid columns of this structure the 
impression of an enormous foot. On inquiring of a 
mullah in attendance, he said that it is the impression 
of the devil's foot which he made in his flight from 
Mohammed. In taking a long stride one foot struck 
the solid porphyry column and sank deep enough in 
the stone to leave this abiding mark. 

I saw the dervishes prostrate themselves in the way 
from the gate to the palace, and the Sultan ride over 
their prostrate bodies. I saw also the walls on the 
west of Istamboul, the Hippodrome, the palaces of 
the Sultan, and the Sultan as he passed in his caique 
down the Bosphorus to the mosque of St. Sophia, 
and I obtained the customary view of the city from 
the top of the tall minar. 

In 1 87 1, the population of the city now called Con- 
stantinople was nine hundred and sixty thousand. 

The Bosphorus and Golden Horn are filled with 
shipping, conspicuous in which are ironclads and ships 
of war. The caique is a craft peculiar to this region. 
It originated with the Genoese. It is light and frail, 
and next to the dug-out of a North American Indian, 



I.] MISSION WORK IN CONSTANTINOPLE. 9 

is the most unreliable and uncomfortable craft that I 
ever got into. 

There are many Europeans in Constantinople. The 
Americans resident here are for the most part en- 
gaged in some form of missionary work. Protestant 
missions have been established many years in this 
city, but the results are by no means satisfactory to 
the parties carrying on the work. They have en- 
countered here a concentration of all the obstacles 
which arise from Mohammedanism on the one hand, 
and a corrupt church and European profligacy on 
the other. Therefore, evangelistic effort has been 
made more in the line of Christian literature and edu- 
cation, than of direct missionary work, though this, it 
should be said, is of such a nature in every place, that 
its results are not so readily seen as are the fruits of 
efforts directed to other lines of work. 

American missionary effort is permanently repre- 
sented by Roberts College and the American Bible 
House. The former is a conspicuous object a few 
miles from the city and west of the Bosphorus. 
The preparation of a Christian literature in the lan- 
guages spoken in Turkey, has engaged very largely 
the attention of the American missionaries. The re- 
sult has been a goodly number of translations in the 
Bulgarian, Armenian and Turkish languages. The 
Bible and book agency established here has been for 
a long time the source of supply for European and 
Asiatic Turkey, and for Persia. 



io THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [i. 

On the night of the 9th of September we went 
aboard a small Turkish steamer bound for Trebizond, 
and which, soon after our arrival on board, steamed 
out of the Bosphorus. The Black Sea appears to 
have retained very much of the reputation acquired 
by it in ancient times. A writer states, that " of one 
thousand Turkish vessels which skim over its waters 
every year, five hundred are said to be wrecked as 
a matter of course." So large a proportion of loss 
indicates either a very formidable sea, or very poor 
seamanship. It is reasonable to suppose that the 
statement is an exaggeration of the facts. Our steamer 
sailed near the southern coast so that by day we 
were able to see much of the Anatolian shore. The 
black mountains, dark waters, and cloudy sky, gave 
a dreary prospect. There was but little in sky or 
land to impart pleasure, except it were that of identi- 
fying in the land a place of ancient fame. We could 
imagine our course to be that of the Argonauts, those 
daring sailors who made the first known voyage over 
these waters so long ago as twelve hundred years be- 
fore the birth of Christ. 

If this sea retains somewhat of the terror with which 
it was invested by the imagination of the ancients, 
some three thousand years ago, we know that no such 
dread filled the minds of the Goths who lived on its 
shores ; for these adventurers sallied from the Cim- 
merian Bosphorus on their expeditions for war and 
plunder, in flat bottomed boats covered with wood or 



I.] TREBIZOND. 



hides in the form of the roofs of our houses, and 
without sail or oar, trusting to wind and wave to 
bear them to the opposite shore. On the morning 
of the 1 2th we awoke to find our steamer at anchor 
in the roadstead of Trebizond. The Romans con- 
structed a harbour here, where the galleys were 
safely moored; but the work has disappeared, and 
ships are now left to the mercy of the sea. From the 
deck of our ship we had a good view of the coast and 
mountains beyond. 

The city takes its name from the level strip of land 
between the sea and the mountains, which the Greeks 
described by the word trapezium, as we now do by the 
word table land, whence came the name Trebizond. 
The record of this city is a remarkable one. It first 
became known to history in the writings of Xeno- 
phon about four hundred years before Christ. He 
relates that it was at that time " a Greek city of large 
population, a colony of Sinope, but lying in the terri- 
tory of the Colchians." The founding of the city must 
have taken place a long time before the expedition of 
the Ten Thousand. Very little is recorded of the place 
or known of it subsequent to this note of Xenophon, 
during a period of seven hundred years. In the third 
century a. d., it fell a rich prize to the Goths. The 
officers of the army and the people of the city, feel- 
ing secure in the intrenchments and defences, were 
occupied with feasting and revelry in the night, 
when the Goths, filling the trenches, scaled the walls 



12 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [i. 

and took possession of the treasures and refugees 
gathered here. 

Trebizond was a possession of the Eastern Empire, 
until, on the capture of Constantinople by the Latins, 
Alexis, a pretender to the Byzantine throne, established 
his court here. The Comnenian princes ruled from that 
period A. d. 1204, until the capture of the city and the 
extinction of that dynasty by Mohammed the second, 
A. d. 1 46 1 ; since which time it has belonged to the Turk- 
ish dominions. The foreign residents of Trebizond were 
two or three consuls and a few merchants. The Ameri- 
cans have been represented here by missionaries of the 
American Board only. None of these were now per- 
manent residents in the place. Missionary operations 
were begun in 1 834-5, by Messrs. Johnson, Jackson and 
Bliss. In 1 87 1 there were twelve native families identi- 
fied with the Protestant mission ; the only one in the 
city and in charge of the missionaries resident in Erze- 
roum. Among the interesting objects of the town are 
many ruined structures of Byzantine architecture; Greek 
churches ; the tomb of Solomon, King of Georgia ; old 
walls of the Byzantine citadel ; tombs of Mohammed- 
ans and Christians, and the church of St. Sophia. 

Trebizond is the chief port of the Black Sea for 
Eastern Turkey, and until the opening of the railroad 
from Poti to Tiflis, it was the principal port whence 
goods were conveyed to Persia. The bazaars are 
ruined and filthy; the streets are narrow and filled 
with rubbish. The city has a population of fifty or 



I.] POPULATION OF TREBIZOND. 13 

sixty thousand souls, comprising three thousand 
houses of Armenians, five hundred Georgian families ; 
Papal Armenians, one hundred and twenty houses; 
twelve Protestant, and eighteen thousand Moham- 
medan houses. 



CHAPTER II. 

Coast of the Black Sea — Roads and Distances — Customs of Travel — 
Cajavahs — Taktravan — Chavidars — Manner of Loading a Caravan — 
Road to Gumish Khanah — First Manzil — Tent Life — A Night En- 
campment — Bulut Dah or Village of the Clouds — Mountain Pass — 
Gumish Khanah — Beyburt — The Euphrates Valley, or Kara Su — 
Illijah — Erzeroum — Antiquities — The Plain — Climate — Present Con- 
dition of the City — Armenian Establishment — American Mission- 
aries — Hassan Kalah — Boundary of Armenia and Kurdistan — 
Eastern Branch of the Euphrates — Hoshean — Ararat — Paskek — 
Kara Kallesia the Black Church — Troglodytes — Utch Kallesia — 
The Stage to Kizil Diza — Yezdees — Principal Tenets — Rites — 
Boundary between Turkey and Persia — The Land of the Shah — 
Descent to the Plain of Khoy — Pa Baba — Pass to the Plain of 
Salmas — Plain of Salmas — Missions of the Plain — Pass to Gavalan 
— The Plain of Oroomiah Sea or Lake — The Shahe Sea — The Shores 
of the Sea — Gavalan — Mission Premises and Early Enterprise — Ride 
to Oroomiah — Approach to the City — Death of Mr. Cochran. 

The southern coast of the Black Sea is a range of 
lofty mountains. The mountains, which are within 
one hundred miles of the sea, are more precipitous 
than those of the interior country. The most difficult 
passes between Trebizond and Persia are in the coast 
ranges. At this time the military road from the sea to 
Erzeroum had been completed; but it had been washed 
away, in many places, by mountain torrents. We could 
not trust to conveyance by wagon in the uncertain 
14 



ii.] CUSTOMS OF TRAVEL. 15 

state of the road, and therefore engaged a Persian cara- 
van of horses to transport ourselves and baggage to 
Oroomiah, a distance of five hundred and fifty miles 
by way of the Khoy plain. The new road obviated 
the necessity of our having the experience of the 
travellers who in former years crossed these mountains 
by the old route. Instead of the narrow path along 
ledges of rock projecting from the precipitous sides 
of deep chasms, we followed a well-graded and broad 
pike. 

Our arrangements for the land journey were com- 
pleted in Trebizond. I here took my first lessons in 
true Oriental ways, and in the requirements and dia- 
lect of travel by caravan. I learned that sahib means 
Mr. or master, and is invariably used by natives of 
this country in addressing Europeans, who are also 
called Frangees ; the Frank or Frenchman having 
been taken at first as the representative of all Euro- 
peans. The term has come down from the time of 
the Crusades. A chavidar, I was told, is a man who 
drives horses, and a katirchee is one who drives mules. 
I learned also that any place in which we might lodge 
for the night is called a manzil, and the station-house 
is named a khanah. 

The cajavahs and taktravan are substitutes for 
wheeled vehicles, to be used when there are no wagon 
roads, and no wagons. The former name is given to 
two light frames with box bottom, which are sus- 
pended one on either side of a horse or other beast 



16 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

of burden. The cajavah is more available than the 
taktravan, and safer in most places. The sides have 
to be equally balanced. So if the occupant of one 
side is of less weight than the person in the other 
side, the difference is adjusted by the addition of a 
stone or some part of the luggage. The top is pro- 
vided with hoops over which canvas is fastened, thus 
affording a protection from sunlight and rain. 

The taktravan may* be described as a long box set 
in the centre of two parallel poles. The ends of these 
poles, which project beyond the ends of the box, serve 
as shafts. In them a horse is hitched ; the head of 
the rear horse being tied to the box. These convey- 
ances are usually made of wood, and of water-tight 
top and sides. They are often constructed at consid- 
erable expense ; and by upholstering the interior may 
be made very warm ; they are provided with doors 
and windows. This vehicle is suspended by rings to 
hooks attached to the pack-saddles. 

Our chavidars had agreed to start on the morning 
of the 14th, but at that time they struck for higher 
wages, and the day was lost in negotiations. When 
the terms had been readjusted, the men came with 
ropes to prepare the loads. They carefully lifted 
every box to ascertain the weight of each ; these 
having been mated according to weight, they were 
wound about with ropes in a way best known to 
chavidars. If any of the loads weighed more than 
two hundred and fifty pounds, it was said to be too 



II.] MANNER OF LOADING A CARAVAN. 17 

heavy and must be repacked, or extra freight must be 
paid. 1 At midnight we were awakened by these men 
and informed that they were ready to start. They 
were told to get their horses ready. It was broad 
day, however, before they began to put the loads upon 
the horses. They now began to quarrel with one 
another as to who should have the lightest loads. 
There was a battle of words. The controversy seemed 
to be settled by the man of the most assurance, and 
most fluent tongue. 

The horses were now led out. These were called 
yaboos, a very significant term, denoting an inferior 
animal, and equivalent to the English word plug. 
The blooded and best horses are called by Persians 
asp, and the former .name is never used of the best 
animals. On the neck of every horse was a belt of 
beads, bells, and tassels. Every belt had no less than 
three bells. There were forty horses in the caravan, 
and no less than one hundred and twenty cow bells. 
The bells are much prized by the natives, and are 
useful to the chavidar, as they enable him to know 
when any one of the horses leaves the caravan by the 
way, and in the night. The bells put upon camels 
are- very large, and their Sound may be heard a long 
distance. Sometimes names and mottoes are engraved 
on the bells. 

Every one of the horses carried a pack-saddle 

1 The legal load is forty botmans, or about two hundred and seventy 
pounds. 



18 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

shaped like a peaked roof. It is made of coarse can- 
vas cloth or felt, and is stuffed with straw. A horse 
was led to each load. The mated boxes were lifted 
by three or four men, over the hips of the horse, and 
suspended by the ropes connecting them over the 
saddle. The ropes were then wound over the boxes 
and beneath the horse and made tight. The horses 
being once loaded, travel continuously, and there is 
no voluntary halt until the stage of the day has been 
completed. The process of unloading is short and 
easy ; the noose in the ropes serves as a pulley, and 
the boxes are lowered or dumped, as the temper of 
the chavidar may be. 

The taktravan was taken up by four men, one being 
at the end of each pole ; the rings on the poles were 
then slipped over the hooks of the harness on the pack 
saddle of both forward and rear horse. As the lady 
who rode in this conveyance entered the door, the 
taktravan rocked like a ship at sea. The covered 
baskets in place of cajavahs were swung over the saddle 
in the same manner as the boxes, and in each basket 
was placed a child. A native Persian seated between 
the baskets drove and guided the horse. The other 
members of our party now mounted the saddle 
horses; the pack animals now fell in line one after 
another, followed by chavidars on foot. A native 
walked by the side of the taktravan to keep it steady, 
and the whole caravan moved off with a deafening and 
discordant jingle of bells, and shouts of the chavidars. 



II.] A TURKISH KHANAH. 19 

We took the road to Gumish Khanah, or house of 
silver. The road followed the tortuous valley of a 
small river. Before us there appeared a broad pano- 
rama of mountain peaks and gorges. The former 
seemed to rise higher as we ascended. A turn in the 
way often enabled us to see our road many miles be- 
yond, and many hundred feet above us, as a thread 
and coil on the mountain side. 

Near sunset we halted at the inn called Jarvislik. 
Here we had our first sight of a Turkish khanah. 
This building was two stories high ; the ceilings were 
low. The lower story was used as a stable. The 
upper part was divided into two or three small rooms. 
The floors were of earth; the ceiling consisted of 
round timbers overlaid with reeds. The walls were 
covered with a coarse brown plaster of mud. A hole 
in the wall served as a window, through which just 
enough light entered the room to reveal the situation, 
and to deepen the sense of dreariness. The khanah 
belongs to the government. An old Turk serves as 
keeper, and receives' a small present from the travellers 
who may lodge in the inn. But he provides neither bed 
nor food. This khanah seemed to be a very dreary 
place, but it was found to be first class in comparison 
with inns which are to be seen further on in the jour- 
ney. In the regions where timber is abundant the dwell- 
ings are largely of wood and stone. In the interior 
they are for the most part underground. In the latter 
case the presence of a village is apparent from stacks 



20 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

of pahin or tezek, 1 which are the first objects seen, as 
minarets and church spires are in other countries. 

Our party preferred tents to the khanah. The tents, 
therefore, were set up far enough away from the inn 
and village to insure quiet and freedom from annoy- 
ance. Now began the new experience of tent life. 
Mats were put down, bedsteads set up, bedding un- 
packed, dishes and provisions were brought in, and 
house-keeping begun in the certain knowledge that 
this process of unpacking must be repeated every 
night during the continuance of the journey. The 
darkness of a cloudy night made denser by the 
shadow of high mountains gathered about us in the 
hush and silence of a mountain glen. But the quiet 
was soon broken. Suddenly the cries of men in dis- 
tress came from the village. The speech was an un- 
known tongue, but the tones were those of fear, anger 
and pain. I knew that the cook had some knowledge 
of English, and of the Persian Turkish. Calling him, 
therefore, he said : " Chavidars very bad mens ; I think 
the mens of the caravansary drives them away." So he 
interpreted. One man shouted, " Don't kill me ! " 
Another cried, " You have killed him." Then followed 
thuds, and an interval of silence, to be succeeded by 
yells. A brief council was held, and a messenger sent 
to command peace and to report. I did not wait for 
the return of the messenger before going to sleep. 

The morning revealed the fact that the disturbance 

1 A preparation of fuel from the deposit of the stables. 



ii.] VILLAGE OF GUMISH KHANAH. 21 

of the night arose from the attempt of the chavidars 
to settle the questions of their partnership. The rain 
fell in torrents during the night and morning. At 
dawn we packed up beds, bedding, bedsteads, dishes 
and provisions, and struck tent in the thickest of 
the storm. We began the second day's stage quite 
initiated in the ways of chavidars and the realities of 
Oriental life in its most common, practical form. So 
night and morning for more than thirty days, in pack- 
ing and unpacking, and weary plodding over a stage of 
fifteen to twenty miles, we repeated the experiences of 
the first day, and I need not repeat them in these pages. 
Near nightfall of the second day we reached the inn 
Bulut Dah, or village of the clouds. The altitude, 
however, was no more than three thousand six hun- 
dred feet above the sea. The pertinency of the name 
arises more from the concentration of clouds here than 
from the height of the situation. 

Leaving this halting place of the clouds on Monday, 
the ascent soon became difficult. At 8.25 a.m., we 
gained an elevation of four thousand two hundred feet, 
and a temperature of 59 Fahrenheit. We crossed the 
summit of the pass at 1 1 o'clock A. m., and at an eleva- 
tion of six thousand feet above the sea. At this point 
the thermometer registered 6o° in the sun. This was 
the highest point in the pass of the first range of 
mountains. 

On the evening of the 19th, we set up our tents 
near the village of Gumish Khanah. It is so named 



22 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

on account of the silver mines in the vicinity. The 
town contains four or five thousand people, and owes 
its importance to the mines of silver. These were once 
thought worthy of a controversy between the Roman 
emperor and Khosroes, King of Persia. The yield 
of silver ore is now less than it was in former times. 
Passing several stages and unimportant villages, we 
came to Beyburt on the ninth day of travel from 
Trebizond. This town is reported to contain from 
twenty-five to thirty thousand people. It is situated 
in a valley of a tributary of the Tcho Ra River. It 
was now Friday, the Sabbath of Mohammedans. The 
markets, however, were open as they usually are, during 
some part of the day. The people of the large cities 
do not usually work on Friday. The only religious 
service is in the morning at the mosque. After this 
the time is spent in recreation. 

The large cities of these regions contain many fairly 
constructed houses. The villages are composed of 
hovels. The people of the former have a better ap- 
pearance than the inhabitants of the country and 
villages. The costume of these Turks differs in a 
few particulars only from the dress of Persians. The 
red fez is rarely worn in the rural districts. The ordi- 
nary costume is a high sheep skin hat without brim ; 
a loose gown reaching to the ankles, and sandals or 
loose shoes. The dress of the women is essentially 
the same as that of Persian Mohammedans. 

On the 23d, we crossed the highest pass between 



ii.] ERZEROUM. 23 



Trebizond and Erzeroum ; the altitude is seven thou- 
sand six hundred feet At this elevation, in the sun, 
the thermometer registered 85 ° F. The adjacent peaks 
attained to a height of some fifteen hundred feet more. 
On the south, there was an extended view of the val- 
ley of the Kara Su, a branch of the Euphrates, and 
to the eastward in dim outline, the city of Erzeroum, 
distant some two to three days' journey by caravan. 
Our manzil for the night was within nine hours of 
Illijah. This place we reached in one day and a half. 
It is situated on the plain of Erzeroum, and is now 
famous for its hot springs. It is noted in history for 
the great battle fought in this vicinity by the armies 
of Pompey and of ^lithridates, in which the latter was 
defeated. We entered the city on the 26th. Erzeroum 
is said by some writers to occupy the site of Theodosi- 
opolis, which was built A. d. 41 5. But the true position 
of that city is believed to have been some thirty miles 
east of this place. The name Erzeroum is derived from 
the terms Arz, meaning a line or boundary, and Roum, 
the name of Rome. It denoted the country of Rome. 
A late writer says that the name first figures in the triple 
division of the Suljuks. It should be said, however, 
that the name occurs in history before the time of the 
Suljuks. There was an Arzrumes in the south, and an 
Erzeroum in Mesopotamian Armenia. 

A Persian historian relates that the country of 
Roum comprehended about sixty cities, and lay be- 
tween Armenia, Georgia, Syria, and the sea of Roum. 



24 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

In the reign of the Suljuks the revenue of the district 
was ninety-seven thousand five hundred tomans. 

The antiquities of this city are fragments of the old 
walls, baths, and the gateway of two minarets, called 
Thufta Minar. The old wall was now being removed 
to make room for new buildings. Some of the mosques 
are supposed to have been constructed in the twelfth 
and sixteenth centuries. The altitude of the plain 
where the city stands is about six thousand feet above 
the level of the sea, and the latitude of the place is near 
the 40th parallel. The temperature of the winters may 
therefore be conjectured. The heat of summer is in- 
tense. 

Erzeroum is the capital of the I^shalik, and has a 
population of about sixty thousand souls, Turks and 
Armenians. The city has often suffered from earth- 
quakes. Some of the houses are, therefore, constructed 
with a view to resist the shocks. A bishop of the 
Armenian Church resides in Erzeroum. The schools 
are the principal features of his establishment. The 
nunnery furnished a school for Armenian girls. The 
school for boys was divided into three departments. 
The principal studies of the highest department were 
rhetoric, mathematics, and the French language. A 
new building had been constructed for the nunnery. 
The girls attending were mostly day scholars, and few 
or none appeared to be above fifteen years of age. 

The only Americans in this city are missionaries of 
the American Board. The mission was begun here in 



II.] HASSAN KALAH. 25 

1840 by Mr. Jackson. In the early years of this effort, 
much opposition was excited by the Armenian bishop. 
Imprisonment, fines and flogging were the penalty for 
professing or inclining to Protestantism. After thirty 
years the visible results of the mission are a church 
and two schools in the city, and several congregations 
and schools in the country. Messrs. Parmelee, Cole 
and Pierce, with their wives, and Miss Van Duzee, 
were now in charge of this work, and had for the field 
of their mission the people of Northeastern Turkey, 
and a territory extending to Georgia and the border 
of Persia. 

On the 29th of September we resumed the journey 
eastward, having been, according to Eastern custom, 
" poured out on the way " by the kind friends of Erze- 
roum. The caravan of loads had preceded us, but we 
reserved the tents in case of need. The chavidars did 
not halt at the village where it was intended we should 
make our manzil. We therefore hastened forward, 
but night coming on, we pitched our tents by the road- 
side, a long distance from any village. In the morn- 
ing at 7.30, the thermometer registered 40 F. We 
passed the plain of Hassan Kalah. The old citadel 
and wall of the town of that name are conspicuous 
objects. There are here hot springs and baths, and 
near by a branch of the Aras River. We set up our 
tents for the night in the village of Bulekok. On 
the 2d of October, at six o'clock in the morning, the 
temperature was 39 F., and ice had formed during 



26 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

the night. At Bikoyah, the next manzil, the report 
was circulated that a caravan of Persian merchants had 
been robbed on the previous day near the next station, 
and the merchants while defending their property had 
been killed. Robbery is frequent on all this route, 
and especially in the regions east of Erzeroum. It is 
commonly believed that life will not be taken by the 
banditti if no resistance is offered. Every traveller is 
here suspicious of armed men and horsemen. The 
mails are often robbed, both here and in Persia. Sev- 
eral years subsequent to this time, I received a letter 
which had been picked up where the letters had been 
thrown down by the robbers. A gentleman of my 
acquaintance who had sent by mail a valuable gold 
watch to Constantinople for repair was not so fortunate. 

A caravan is usually attacked, if at all, in the night, 
or in the early hours of morning, when the men are 
overcome with sleep. A dash is made by the thieves, 
and one or more loads turned off the way. The entire 
caravan would be more than most banditti could dis- 
pose of, as they go about in small companies. They 
are content, in most cases, to get off with two or three 
loads of merchandise. Yet the Baktearee and the 
Kurds have been known to capture whole caravans. 
If it is known or thought that persons in a caravan 
have large sums of money they are most likely to be 
attacked. At all times the laggards run great risk of 
being killed or robbed. 

During this night, and for the first time, we had a 



ii.] ARMENIA AND KURDISTAN. 27 

guard. The village near which a caravan rests is 
held responsible for any loss by thieving which the 
caravan may suffer. When any danger is appre- 
hended, it is customary to require a patrol of the 
kathoda of the village. The people of the village are 
very ready to serve for a few piasters. It is the cus- 
tom, that these men who act as patrol should shout a 
great deal in the course of the night, for the purpose 
of giving notice to the thieves that there is a guard 
provided, and that it may be known that the watch- 
men are not asleep. In most cases, however, it is 
very quiet before morning, and I have often been 
awakened by the snoring of the guard. Two or three 
of them will go off to sleep, having arranged to serve 
in turn, and one is left on duty ; he soon falls to sleep 
and so the whole posse rest until morning, or until 
called to their post again by some one in the caravan. 
As we marched in the day, we had no fear of molest- 
ation except at night. 

On the following day we crossed the boundaiy of 
Armenia and Kurdistan. The highest pass was 
crossed at mid-day ; it had an elevation of about seven 
thousand feet above the sea level. The highest point 
of the mountain must be about fifteen hundred feet 
higher than the pass. The sides of the mountains 
were under cultivation quite to the summit of the 
pass. We were now crossing the range of mountains 
which lie between the tributaries of the Aras on the 
north, and the eastern branch of the Euphrates, called 



28 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

Murad Tchai, on the south and east. The whole 
region between Erzeroum and the plain of Khoy is 
mountainous and high. Our station for the night 
was called Takah, and has an altitude of about five 
thousand feet. On the east of this village we crossed 
a pass at an altitude of seven thousand six hundred feet. 
On reaching the plain on the east of this pass, Mount 
Ararat appeared in view for the first time, and to the 
northeast, one hundred and twenty miles distant. The 
cone-like peak was covered with snow, the only snow 
now visible. No part of the mountain was seen below 
the snow line owing to other mountains in the way. 

After riding about six miles on the plain, passing 
the village of Mullah Suliman on our left, we made 
our manzil at the village of Hoshean. The inhab- 
itants were Mohammedans and Armenians. They 
brought bread, fruit, and horses to sell. The plain, 
though fertile, is poorly and partially cultivated. It 
is five thousand three hundred feet above the sea. 
At this elevation, and at six o'clock in the morn- 
ing, the thermometer registered 40 F. We were 
repaid for an early morning ride by seeing Ararat 
at sunrise. The summit of the mountain is com- 
puted to be at least seventeen thousand two hun- 
dred and sixty feet above the level of the sea. It 
has been thought also to exceed this estimate. Ara- 
rat must be five or six thousand feet higher than any 
other mountain in this region, yet the mountains 
about it are so elevated that the observer loses some- 



II.] KARA KALLESIA. 29 

what of the impression of height and magnitude. 
We passed the village of Paskek, noted for its 
Kurdish robbers, and, after a ride of seven hours, en- 
camped near the cluster of hovels called Kara Kal- 
lesia, situated near the Doshle Tchai or Stone River. 
The name Kara Kallesia means black church. It is 
so called on account of the dark appearance of the 
stone of which the ancient Armenian church in this 
place is constructed. Tradition has it that this church 
was founded by the apostle Thaddeus. 

Four considerable rivers meet in the plain near 
Kara Kallesia. In the early morning we crossed the 
Doshle Tchai, and following the valley of the Murad 
Tchai, pitched our tents near the village which bears 
the name of the former stream. Most part of the 
villages in this region consist of underground dwell- 
ings. The people appear to be worthy successors of 
the troglodytes of the time of Xenophon. 

In the next stage our route passed the ancient 
monastery of Utch Kallesia, or the three churches. 
The village in which the church stands is a collection 
of miserable huts occupied by Armenians. The 
building is a large and solid structure of smooth 
dressed stone. Armenians claim that the edifice was 
constructed fifteen hundred years ago. It is in a good 
state. The floor is of stone. The form is that of the 
cross. A dome of stone rests upon heavy stone pil- 
lars. We read that Gregory the Illuminator baptized 
near this place one hundred and twenty-four thousand 



30 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

Armenians. It is also asserted, with much assurance, 
that Gregory founded this monastery. Although the 
Armenians practise immersion, yet the pictures on 
the walls of this church represent the baptism of 
Christ to have been by pouring. Many handkerchiefs 
were hung about the altar. They are votive offerings 
of the credulous, and are designed for the service of 
the church. There appears to be a great mania in 
Armenian churches for handkerchiefs. I suppose it 
to have come from the tradition given by many 
writers, and current arrjong Armenians, that Christ 
took a handkerchief, and, spreading it upon his own 
face, caused his own features to be impressed upon it, 
and sent it to Abgarus, the king of Armenia, who 
was thereby cured of his malady, and became a Chris- 
tian. Handkerchiefs with the likeness of Christ upon 
them are common in the churches, and among the 
common people there is prevalent a superstitious 
reverence for handkerchiefs which have been conse- 
crated. 

We were conducted by a priest to a room where we 
were shown the tomb of John the Baptist. It is said 
that half his body lies here under a stone which is 
covered with a silk cloth. We were shown also many 
hands made of brass. These were placed on the altar. 
The brass hands were said to be substitutes for the 
gold ones, which were once in this place, and which 
had been either stolen or put to a secular use. 

Leaving Utch Kallesia, we rode to Deadeen. This 



ii ] THE YEZDEES. 



in former years was an important town, but is now a 
filthy, miserable place, six thousand feet above the level 
of the sea. From Deadeen we passed over a rugged 
region in the vicinity of Ararat. The plains and moun- 
tains were covered with masses of black rock, and Ara- 
rat was plainly seen on the north of our road, and about 
fifty miles distant. About one-third of the height ap- 
peared to be covered with snow. We camped for 
the night at Kizil Diza, a small village of hovels in- 
habitated by Yezdees or Devil worshippers. 

There have been many different opinions entertained 
concerning the origin of the Yezdees. They appear 
to be a religious sect whose origin is not disclosed by 
any record. Until 1847 they were supposed by the 
Turkish authorities to be non-Mohammedan, and were 
therefore exempt from the military conscription. Sub- 
sequent to this date, they were held to be Moham- 
medan, and so subject to the conscription as are the 
Druses and Anseyare. But they could not become 
regular soldiers without violating the laws regulating 
some of their religious ceremonies. The bath which 
every Turkish soldier is required to take every week, 
is pollution to the Yezdees, because they are defiled 
by contact with other sects. The blue color of the 
Turkish uniform is prohibited by their religious law. 
There are also certain articles of food of the Turkish 
soldiers, which the Yezdees religiously reject. They 
speak the Kurdish language, and are found in several 
places of Kurdistan. 



32 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

The people of this sect have been greatly oppressed. 
Their children were lawful objects of sale for debt, and 
Yezdees have been put to death. A firman was secured 
for them from the Sultan by Layard. It forbade the 
sale of their children as slaves, granted religious liberty, 
placing them on an equal footing with other sects, and 
relieved them from such military regulations as were 
incompatible with their religious duties. They have 
priests and dervishes who wear red and black turbans, 
and dark-coloured dresses, sometimes putting on white 
robes. The brazen peacock is a testimonial of their 
mission. 

The principal tenets of the sect are, — that Christ 
will come to govern the world, and will be succeeded 
by the Mahde ; that there is a purgatory and Moham- 
medans will be punished eternally. Proselytes are 
not received, and circumcision is optional. Children 
are baptized in consecrated water, and they observe a 
fast of forty days in the spring time. The fast may be 
observed by proxy, and one meal in twenty-four hours 
is lawful in the fast. Monogamy and polygamy are 
both permitted. The khalafate is by inheritance, as is 
the priesthood also. Priests must marry, if at all, in 
the family of a priest. In the burial service there is a 
preliminary washing, and the face of the dead is placed 
toward the north star, instead of toward Mekkah as 
in the burial of Mohammedans. They do not wor- 
ship fire, but pass the hands through the fire in some 
acts of worship. In prayer, their prostrations are 



II.] TENETS AND RITES OF THE YEZDEES. 33 

made toward the north star. They are believed to 
recognize a good and an evil spirit, or principal. It 
has been said that they worship the sun. Forbes says 
that they worship the rising sun as an emblem of 
Christ ; but to this it is answered that this profession 
was made by Yezdees to please a Christian foreigner. 
It is said that the Yezdee at sunrise turns his face to 
the East, and kisses the first rays of sunlight, and that 
one of this sect will not spit in the fire. 

The cock is chosen as an emblem, because that fowl 
is the harbinger of day. He is called Malake Taoos, 
the king or angel of light. The name of this sect is 
said to have come from Azed. There is a tradition 
that this people are remnants of a colony from the 
north of Syria. The Yezdees have been called Devil 
worshippers by the natives of Persia and Turkey under 
the impression that they worship Satan. Kizil Diza is 
the seat of the Turkish quarantine for the Persian 
border. The stage from this place passes the high 
mountain ranges which form the boundary between 
Turkey and Persia. The country presents a succession 
of mountains and plains destitute of verdure, and for 
the most part untilled. 

This border land has for a long time been disputed 
ground between the Sultan and the Shah, and the con- 
venient place for reprisals. The Turkish Kurds fre- 
quently make raids upon the Persian villages on the 
eastern side of the mountains. These expeditions for 
plunder receive little or no attention from the Turkish 
3 



34 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

authorities, and the Persians are obliged to find redress 
by retaliation. The boundary as now settled was fixed 
by commissioners appointed by Great Britain and Rus- 
sia at the request of the Sultan and the King of Persia. 
By a treaty signed in June, 1847, tne boundaries were 
defined. In 1848 a new commission was raised to make 
a survey of the boundary. They began at Bagdad, 
passed through Kurdistan to Ararat, and completed 
their work September 16th, 1852. The determination 
of the border has not prevented the depredations of 
the Kurds. The border towns are frequently alarmed 
by the predatory bands of men like Sheik Abdallah, 
Beder Khan Be)', Nurullah, Khan Abdallah, and Khan 
Mohammad. The passage of the border reminded us 
that we had now entered the land of the Shah ; but 
there was no marked feature of the country that could 
possibly suggest the fact. It was not until some days 
later that the change became apparent. The people in 
the vicinity of the border on either side are Turks and 
Kurds. One of the first villages, through which we 
passed after crossing the boundary, was suffering from 
cholera. The disease had prevailed during the summer 
in quite all Persia. It is estimated that two thousand 
people died in the course of three months, in the plains 
of Khoy and Oroomiah. 

It was the practice of Persians to treat the cholera 
by applications of cold water. It is said that water 
was poured on the patient until the last moment. But 
this treatment is, I think, quite out of use in these 



II.] PLAIN OF KHO Y. 35 

times. When a person is attacked with the malady, 
there is little or no hope entertained of recovery, and 
therefore but little is done. It is said that Moham- 
medans trust to fate, but in case of the prevalence of 
cholera, the well people trust more to flight. The passes 
near the border are guarded by cavalry who levy on 
every load of merchandise a tax of a few shahees for 
their own benefit. On the 1 2th of October we descended 
to the plain of Khoy. The pass has an elevation of six 
thousand five hundred feet above the sea. The descent 
to the east is rough and tedious, and required five hours 
to reach the village of Para, two thousand feet below 
the summit of the pass. The rills of water and fertile 
gardens of the plain furnished a pleasing contrast to 
the barren regions over which we had come. The 
houses of the villages were much better than anything 
we had seen in Eastern Turkey, poor as these may be. 
The water courses are here planted with willow and 
poplar trees, and the gardens yield apricots, walnuts, 
apples, grapes, melons, and other fruits. 

We left the city of Khoy some distance from us, to 
the east and north, and pitched our tents near the vil- 
lage, called Pa Baba, or the Foot of the Father. Our 
route now lay to the south, and crossed a succession of 
plains and mountain ridges. The latter are spurs of 
the principal range which we passed a few days since. 
On the 15th we ascended the ridge which separates 
the plains of Khoy and Salmas. From the top of this 
pass we saw, for the first time, the Dareatche Shahe, 



36 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

as Lake Oroomiah is called by Persians. The bright 
sunlight from a cloudless sky was reflected from the 
waters of this sea as from a mirror. The name by 
which this body of water is commonly known to many 
Europeans and Americans is entirely erroneous, for it 
is not properly termed a lake since the waters are salt, 
and the name Oroomiah is not applied to it by Per- 
sians except as they adopt the term used by foreigners. 
Descending the pass to the south, we crossed the 
plain of Salmas. This plain is the valley of a small 
stream which flows from the mountains of Kurdistan 
to the Shahee Sea. The greatest width of the valley is 
ten to twelve miles, and the length about twenty miles. 
The eastern extremity contiguous to the sea is a 
morass. The old city of Salmas is near the head of 
the valley. The higher part of the valley is fertile and 
extensively cultivated. Mohammedans, Armenians, 
and Nestorians inhabit the villages and till the soil. 
Deiamon is the largest town in the valley. Roman 
Catholics have for a long time sustained a mission 
in this plain. Their efforts have been with Arme- 
nians and Nestorians. The American missionaries 
living in Oroomiah are represented here by Nestorian 
teachers and preachers, and there are a few converts and 
congregations among the Nestorians. In former years 
some of the missionaries have temporarily resided here. 
On the morning of the 16th we ascended the pass 
which separates the plains of Salmas and Gavalan. 
The pathway crosses a mountain spur. The eastern 



II.] TERGAWAR AND GAR WAR. 37 

end of this ridge terminates at the sea shore. A large 
rock, which seems to have been broken from the main 
land, stands in the water a short distance from the 
rocky point. This rock is said to have been once con- 
nected with the shore by a bridge. It is a tradition 
that in times of persecution, Christians were thrown 
from the rock into the sea by the Mohammedans. 

From the top of the pass quite all the sea and 
plain of Oroomiah are visible, and surrounded by high 
mountains. On the west the Karduchian, on the 
north, the ill-defined spurs which centre in the Kara 
Dag. On the east, the Sahund which has an altitude 
of near eleven thousand feet above the surface of the 
ocean. The Sahund and spurs of the Karduchian 
range appear to unite on the south of the lake. 

The small plain on the south of the pass takes its 
name from a village located near the principal pass of 
the mountain. It is not separated, however, from the 
low lands which lie on the western shore, except in a 
small part, contiguous to the mountains. The inden- 
tures formed by the small valleys between the mount- 
ain spurs, give a convenient division to the whole 
stretch of land on the lake shore. The belt of land 
between the lake and the main range of mountains 
on the west, called Tergawar and Garwar, varies from 
fifteen to twenty-five miles in width. It has been esti- 
mated to be from four thousand to four thousand seven 
hundred feet above the ocean. Through this belt of 
land, three rivers flow from the mountains on the west, 



38 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [n. 

to the lake ; they are the Nazloo, the Shakir and the 
Barandooz. Each river gives its name to the small 
tract of land through which it flows. Much of this 
tract is barren. That part only is tilled which can be 
supplied with water from these rivers, or their tribu- 
taries. The plains called Meanjub, Sulduz, and Souj 
Bolok are south of Oroomiah. The city of Maragha 
is nearly opposite the city of Oroomiah and on the 
western shore. It is famous as the capital of the 
Moguls under Huluku Khan. The Shahee Sea is about 
ninety miles long, and from twenty to thirty miles wide. 
The waters resemble those of the Dead Sea, and do 
not support animal life. The marshy borders of the 
sea are filled with reeds and grass, and are the resort 
of water fowl, among which the flamingo is sometimes 
found. On one of the many islands the Mogul prince 
is said to have deposited his treasures. 

In the summer season, the marshes, filled with saline 
matter, emit an odour which may be likened to that 
which comes from a soap factory. It fills the plain, 
and is driven by the winds far up on the mountains. 
The white incrustation of salt which lies upon the 
beach, resembles in the distance the foam of the sea. 
As we descended the pass to the plain of Gavalan, 
we were met by Mr. Coan, who had come on from 
Oroomiah with horses and wagons to escort our party 
to that city. Leaving the main route, and riding for 
some fifteen minutes time, we came to the village of 
Gavalan, and dismounted at the gate of the house 



II.] GAVALAN— EARLY ENTERPRISE. 39 

owned by the Mission. The premises consist of a 
dwelling-house of three or four rooms, located in the 
centre of a small tract of land which is surrounded by 
a high wall. The place is unoccupied, as the mission- 
aries do not reside here. In the early days of the 
Mission to the Nestorians, Mr. Stocking obtained a 
firman from the Shah, authorizing the establishment 
of an agricultural or manual labor school at this place 
and granting certain privileges for this purpose. 

There were two fatal obstacles in the way, and pre- 
venting the success of the undertaking; these were the 
lack of water on the surface of the ground, and the lack 
of funds with which to get the water from beneath the 
ground. An effort was made to introduce the American 
cotton, but the enterprise was not carried forward to 
any permanent and important results. All such under- 
takings are so far in advance of the habits, wants, and 
tastes of the people that they can be made successful 
in a large measure, only by the outlay of large sums 
of money, or by the most favourable conditions in 
location. 

On the morning of the 18th, we set out for our last 
manzil, Oroomiah, said to be about thirty miles dis- 
tant. The ladies and children rode in the wagon, the 
gentlemen on horseback. The road was no more than 
the usual caravan track ; but the level plain presented 
no serious obstacles, and a few bridges had been con- 
structed with a width sufficient to permit the passage of 
wheels. As we approached the city, we were met by 



40 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS, [n. 

Dr. Van Norden, Mr. Labaree, and several natives of the 
country. As is customary in Persia the pace of the 
horses was quickened as we came near the city. The 
road being now more firmly beaten in the vicinity of 
the city there was a rapid movement. The men on 
horseback rode at a gallop, which was quickened to a 
run as we entered the Seir gate. Filing through a 
narrow street we were soon searching our way through 
the, to us, intricate courts of the premises of the 
American Mission. In the course of a few days we 
had unpacked our boxes of household goods, and, as 
one of the first acts in our new life, sat down with Abra- 
ham and John for the study of the Azarbijan-Turkish 
language. 

Within a fortnight after our arrival, the Mission 
suffered a great loss in the death of Mr. Cochran. He 
had accompanied our party from Constantinople, and 
was ill of fever during the last few days of the journey, 
although able to ride. He had been connected with 
the Mission to the Nestorians during a period of near 
twenty-five years. The burial was made in the little 
graveyard just without the gate of the village of Seir, 
on the mountain of that name. From this place there 
is an extended prospect of the villages and city, and of 
the plain and lake, to the Sahund mountains on the 
east. In this village was located the seminary for young 
men, which, during several years, had been in charge 
of Mr. Cochran. 



CHAPTER III. 

Oroomiah — Population and Races — Location of the Missions — En- 
virons — Climate, etc. — Productions of the Plain — Government of the 
District — Ardashir Khan — American Missionaries — Summary of the 
History of the Nestorians — Patriarchate of Mosul and Mar Elias — 
Of the Mar Shimoons — The Chaldean Nestorians— Distinguishing 
Tenets — Present Condition and Chief Characteristics — Effect of Mis- 
sionary Effort — Statistics of the Mission in the Thirty-fourth year — 
Number of Nestorians — Ecclesiastical Organizations — Condition of 
Persia with reference to Missions in 1 87 1 — Language used — Schools 
— Pjess — Statistics — Stations and Out-stations — Method of Control. 

Oroomiah is the largest town on the plain of that 
name. It is believed to occupy the site of a very- 
ancient city, which Persian writers say was constructed 
by the fire worshippers and the Magi. They record 
that the fire altars were numerous in this province, and 
that owing to this fact, it received the name which it 
now retains, Azarbijan, or the Land of Fire. Some 
writers have it that Zoroaster was born here, but others 
say that Ra or Rhages was the place of his birth. 

The circumference of the wall of Oroomiah is stated 
to be twelve thousand paces. The wall is of mud and 
sun-dried brick, and the gates are of wood. The streets 
are narrow and filthy. The open spaces and deserted 
portions are filled with rubbish, and mud holes, and 

41 



42 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

small ponds of stagnant water. A portion of the bazaar 
is in fair condition. The importance of the town is due 
to its being the seat of the government for the district. 
The population is conjectured to be about twenty 
thousand souls. The Jewish households paying taxes 
are two hundred, or about one thousand souls. The 
Nestorians in the city number about one thousand 
souls, and the Armenians five hundred. The balance 
of the people are Mohammedans, and chiefly Afshar 
Turks. The Afshars are a Tartar, or Turkish tribe, 
which has been settled for a long time in this province. 
The Nestorians live in the western part, and the 
Armenians and Jews are more in the centre. The 
part in which the Nestorians live is known as Mot 
Miriam. It is so-called from the church of Mary, a 
very old and rude structure. There are but few Arme- 
nians in the city ; but a considerable number of this 
people inhabit villages of the plain. 

The buildings occupied by the American mission- 
aries are near the church of Mary, and in the quarter 
occupied by Nestorians. The church and nunnery of 
the Roman Catholics are near the dwellings of the Ar- 
menians. The environs of Oroomiah are fertile gardens, 
which, however, indicate that the cultivation of former 
years was greater than now. The ditch around the city 
is the receptacle of filth in many places, and contains 
many pools of stagnant water. Two brick towers 
stand in a ploughed field a short distance from the 
walls on the south side of the town. Kufe characters 



III.] OROOMIAH— CLIMATE. 43 

remaining here and there, and the general resemblance 
to other structures in other places, may reasonably be 
thought to determine the period of their construction. 

The climate of the plain is characterized by cold in 
winter, and great heat in summer, and by malaria. It 
is one of the most unhealthful regions of Persia ; but 
the unhealthfulness is attributed to the great amount 
of irrigation, and the attendant overflow of low lands. 
The mortality, however, among foreigners resident 
here, has been much less during a few years past than 
at an earlier period. The difference is due, doubtless, 
to the improved condition of the dwellings occupied, 
the mode of life, and the better knowledge of the con- 
ditions to health. The winters are colder, and more 
snow falls than the latitude would lead one to expect. 
During a good part of the winter of 187 1-2 there was 
not less than three feet of snow on the plain. The 
altitude of the situation may explain the fact. The 
principal productions of the plain are wheat, barley 
and fruits. The Russian provinces on the north have 
been, of late years, a good market, whither much of 
the wheat has been conveyed. It is said that the great 
demand for wheat and its exportation to Russia was 
one cause of the late famine in Western Persia. 

At this time the government of the districts of Khoy 
and Oroomiah was with the Sujou al Doulat. He 
received appointment from the Shah, but was nomi- 
nally subject to the heir apparent, the governor of the 
province of Azarbijan. The Sujou al Doulat resided 



44 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

at Khoy, leaving the affairs of Oroomiah with his son 
Ardashir Khan. The word Sujou means strong and 
courageous,, and the whole title means the courageous 
and strong one of the kingdom. The term seems to 
be intended to indicate the chief traits of the man's 
character, and most prominent feature of his looks and 
bearing. These qualities, however, were not so con- 
spicuous in the son, the governor of Oroomiah. My 
first visit to the young prince did not leave on my mind a 
pleasant impression of his natural abilities and qualities, 
although he was duly courteous. He received us in a 
garden just without the Seir gate, in a summer house. 
In stature, features, and complexion he is a typical 
representative of his race. He wore a cashmere gown, 
the border of which was trimmed with fur; a black 
hat of lambskin or Astrakan, and without brim ; pants 
of black broad cloth, and white cotton socks. The 
room was furnished with Persian rugs, and chairs. 
The entertainment consisted of a quiet conversation 
conducted by Mr. Labaree and the prince in the 
Turkish tongue. The kalyon was passed around 
twice, and the tea twice, after the most approved cus- 
tom of Persia, in tiny cups. The prince is kindly dis- 
posed to foreigners but much addicted to some vices. 
Several years subsequent to this time, the Sujou al 
Doulet became an object of suspicion to the Shah. 
He was removed from office, and finally ordered to 
Tehran, and died on the way from Tabriz to the capi- 
tal. Ardashir Khan was ordered with his regiment 



in.] AMERICAN MISSIONARIES. 45 

to Southern Persia. The American missionaries were 
the only citizens of the United States in Oroomiah at 
the time of my arrival there, and the only foreigners in 
the place, except the French Papists. This will be reason 
sufficient for my mention of them only as foreigners. 
The buildings occupied by the missionaries since the 
year 1835 were leased of a Persian; but have since 
been purchased. They consisted of two principal 
structures on opposite sides of a court, with attach- 
ments for chapel and press and school. The buildings 
occupied as dwellings are two stories high, and con- 
structed of sun-dried brick. In one, there were apart- 
ments for three families. The school for native girls 
occupies suitable rooms in one end of this building. 
The chapel, press-room, and dispensary were very 
cheap and humble structures in adjacent yards. 
Some of these buildings have since been torn down, 
and new ones put up, and the dwellings have been 
greatly improved. 

The seminary for young men at Seir was a part of 
the premises occupied by the missionaries as a summer 
resort. This building was also of sun-dried brick, and 
so dilapidated as to be near falling. In the course of 
the years covered by these pages, the seminary has 
been removed to the vicinity of the city and near the 
Seir gate. Here a very large building has been 
erected in spacious grounds, amid plane and poplar 
trees, and a college established under the supervision 
of Dr. Shedd. On the same grounds, private dwell- 



46 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

ings, and a dispensary and hospital have been erected ; 
the latter under the charge of Dr. Cochran. The re- 
port of the British consul sent to examine into the 
state of affairs subsequent to the war with Sheik Ab- 
dallah, describes the college as a large and " massive " 
structure. 

The mission to the Nestorians of Oroomiah and 
the adjacent mountains, was opened by the American 
Board in 1834, for the express purpose of evangelizing 
the Nestorians. Some knowledge of the past history 
of this people is so essential to an understanding of 
their present condition, and of any effort in their be- 
half, that I shall venture to give some account of 
them, at the risk of repeating that which may be 
known to many persons who read these pages. The 
Nestorians are known as a Christian sect, and not 
as a race of people. It has been impossible to de- 
termine whether they are of the Chaldean, the Syr- 
ian, or some other stock. Doubt has been expressed 
as to their being of either Chaldean, Assyrian, or Syr- 
ian origin. Dr. Grant attempted to establish their 
identity with the lost tribes of Israel, but it is conceded 
that the argument fails, since it rests upon characteris- 
tics common to Orientals. 

The written and spoken language of the Nestorians 
is Syriac. It is admitted, however, that this fact does 
not establish their race connection with the Syrians. 
It is probable that, at the first, the so-called nation 
was a mixture of Chaldeans and Syrians, and other 



in.] HISTOR Y OF THE NESTORIANS. 47 

people, who were Christians of the Syriac Church, and 
speaking the Syriac language. In the persecutions 
which followed all who adopted the sentiments of 
Nestorius, these people fled to Persia, where they 
found protection. Their settlement here was not the 
result of one general movement, but a gradual growth 
from successive emigrations from several quarters, of 
those persons who were united by a common heresy, 
and were objects of persecution. The heresy of Nes- 
torius was that he taught the union of two natures in 
Christ, in opposition to the then prevalent doctrine of 
one divine nature. He was condemned by the Coun- 
cil of Ephesus, A. d. 431, and banished. The rivalry 
of the Roman and Persian rulers inclined the latter to 
protect all who fled from the dominions of the former. 

Bishoprics subject to the see of Antioch were early 
founded in many Eastern cities. A struggle for su- 
premacy was carried on by the different sects in Persia. 
The Nestorians became ascendant. In the fifth cen- 
tury they secured the election of Babeus to the arch- 
bishopric of Selucia. This see became thereafter inde- 
pendent. It is charged upon the Nestorians that they 
were party to the massacre of seven thousand Papists, 
to secure uniformity of faith and discipline. As early 
as the seventh century, the missionaries of this sect had 
penetrated India and China. The Nestorians prospered 
during the reigns of the Khalafahs of Bagdad, and on 
the rise of that dynasty the patriarch removed from 
Selucia to Bagdad. The interval between A. d. 762 



48 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

and a.d. 1258, was the period of the greatest activity 
of this Church. It was followed by one of reverses and 
persecution. By the close of the fourth century they had 
become nearly extinct in the countries of their greatest 
achievements. The patriarchate of this Church was in an 
unsettled state during three hundred and twelve years. 
It was finally settled at Mosul in the person of Mar Elias, 
from whom^the patriarchs called Eliases, have come. 
On the death of the incumbent in a.d. i 55 1, only one 
metropolitan remained, and three were necessary for 
the consecration of a patriarch. The successor-elect 
was therefore sent to the Pope of Rome for consecration. 

Twenty-four years after this event, Shimoon, the 
bishop of Salmas, Jelu, and Sert, declared his inde- 
pendence of Elias, and was chosen patriarch of the 
Nestorians of Kurdistan. From him we have the line 
of patriarchs known as Mar Shimoons. The Eliases 
have resided at El Kush, near Mosul, and ruled over 
the Nestorians of the western part of Kurdistan and 
in Mesopotamia. 

A large number of Nestorians left the parent 
church and allied themselves to the Roman Catholics. 
These received from the Pope the name Chaldeans, 
which they now retain. A patriarch for this branch 
of the Church was consecrated by the Pope of Rome 
A.D. 168 1, with the title Mar Yosif ; he resided at Diar- 
beker until a.d. 1780. At this time Mar Elias also 
submitted to the Pope, and the separate patriarchates 
ceased. On the death of Elias the office was given 



in.] HISTOR Y OF THE NESTORIANS. 49 

to a Papal Nestorian of Salmas, and the name of the 
patriarchate was henceforth known as Mar Nicolas. 
By custom of succession in the patriarchate, the office 
should have been conferred on a nephew of Elias. The 
Mar Shimoons, therefore, are the only representatives 
of the ancient Nestorian Church. They reside at Kosh- 
annes, and proudly assume the title of Patriarch of the 
East. 

The Nestorian Church has no written standard of 
doctrinal belief. If we except the heresy which sepa- 
rated them from the parent church, it may be said 
that their ecclesiastical organization and ritual is the 
chief feature to which they owe their perpetuity. 
There are many practices and superstitions preva- 
lent among this people, by which they are distin- 
guished from other Oriental churches. All orders of 
the clergy are celibates. By a singular law, the suc- 
cession to the patriarchate is inherited by the nephew 
of the Patriarch, the son of a brother. The people 
know little or nothing of Nestorius, and do not 
attribute their origin to him, except as they have been 
instructed by foreigners to this effect. They profess 
to be the spiritual progeny of St. Thomas and Thad- 
deus. They are commonly known among Moham- 
medans by the name Nasara, or Nazarenes. 

The present condition of this people appears to be 

a great improvement upon their state in former years. 

Their condition is, however, one of poverty, ignorance 

and simplicity. Their relations to the Persian gov- 

4 



50 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

ernment are essentially the same as those of the other 
sects of non- Mohammedans, to whom reference is 
made in subsequent pages. In a marked degree, the 
Nestorians are characterized by a spirit of dependence 
and docility. They love to regard their teachers as 
fathers appointed to supply both spiritual and daily 
bread. Like other Orientals they are greatly influ- 
enced by envy, and so widely does this passion pre- 
vail, that it is difficult to organize them for permanent 
and successful work. In the course of years many 
of them have learned that money is given in Europe 
and America for missionary purposes. The result of 
this knowledge has been that some of them have gone 
to Europe and America, obtaining funds under the 
pretence of these purposes. Some have returned 
from these excursions with considerable sums of 
money, to be invested in houses and lands, and fine 
garments. 

A few who have solicited funds abroad, have appar- 
ently been actuated by sincere desires to benefit their 
own nation, and some have been actuated by spite 
against the missionaries. Others of them have vainly 
hoped that their people might obtain foreign protec- 
tion against Mohammedan oppression. 

Missionary effort among Nestorians has done 
much for the diffusion of intelligence ; but in a gen- 
eral way only to the greater part of the sect, for the 
most part of this people have adhered to the old 
order of things. The purpose declared in the opening 



in.] HISTOR Y OF THE NESTORIANS. 51 



of the mission was to produce a reformation within the 
Church, and it was not the intention of the movers in the 
undertaking to establish a new order of ecclesiastical 
government. All the real reforms were, however, 
necessarily innovations. It was impossible that the 
Nestorian Church should become evangelical without 
ceasing to exist, or without losing the essential features 
of its history and structure. By means of schools, 
hired priests, paid teachers, missionary influence, evan- 
gelical truth, spiritual force, and the hope of material 
gain by alliance with the missionaries, the reformation 
gained many adherents in the old churches. In most 
of the villages the Protestant element, while weak, was 
tolerated ; when it became strong and self-asserting, 
attempts were made toward its expulsion. In some 
instances, the evangelicals were most numerous ; but 
in the greater number of the congregations, the adher- 
ents of the old order were the stronger party, and the 
Protestants were not permitted to continue in the con- 
gregations. They therefore formed new churches. The 
process of disunion culminated in 1 S6S. The patriarch, 
and all who adhered to the old Church, had for a long 
time manifested great hostility to the new doctrines, 
and in many churches the Protestants were denied the 
sacraments and ejected. 

At this time, after thirty-four years of mission labor, 
there were reported to be eighty-five places in which 
some form of mission work was carried on. There 
were seven hundred and twenty communicants, with 



52 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [m. 

whom there were in the congregations nearly two 
thousand souls. The total number in the congrega- 
tions, including communicants, was two thousand 
four hundred souls. The native assistants were about 
one hundred. With two exceptions, the schools were 
for day scholars, and together they contained one 
thousand pupils. The relative strength of the evangel- 
ical movement may be inferred from the fact that the 
total number of Nestorians has been officially reported 
to be fifty or sixty thousand souls, and in Persia twenty- 
five thousand souls. As the final severance of the 
Protestant and prelatical elements took place, the clergy 
in the service of the Mission were gathered into four 
ecclesiastical bodies called in the Syriac, Kanoosha. 
Each one had its own territory, and the basis of organi- 
zation was a Confession of Faith and Rules of Dis- 
cipline. In all the previous years the efforts of the 
Mission in all essentials of efficient service, were 
directed to the Nestorians. 

The Mission now felt the importance of enlarging 
the field of labour so as to embrace other people of 
Persia. The Board of Missions was urged to send 
men, and to occupy other cities with American mis- 
sionaries. In 1869, Mr. Shedd visited the city of 
Hamadan, and was most cordially received by the 
Armenians of that place. On the 28th of May, 1870, 
the Mission by a formal act recommended to the parent 
society that they embrace at once within their efforts 
the Armenians and Mussulman sects of Central Persia 



in.] HISTOR Y OF THE NESTORIANS. 53 

by planting a station at Hamadan, and they recom- 
mended also the sending of missionaries to Tabriz. At 
this time the name of the Mission was changed from 
that of the Mission to the Nestorians to that of the 
Mission to Persia. In accord with this action native 
colporteurs were sent abroad. A preacher was sent to 
Hamadan, where he established a congregation and 
school among the Armenians. A colporteur was sent 
also to Tehran, where he kept a book room, and 
preached as he had opportunity. Another went to 
Tabriz, where he entered upon a work like that opened 
in the other cities. 

Ecclesiastical changes in America led to a partition 
of missions between Presbyterians and Congregation- 
alists, and the Mission to Persia was transferred to the 
former Church in the autumn of 1870. The real 
expansion of the missionary work was necessarily 
prospective; for there was no supply of men from 
America to prosecute the plan. There were at this 
time no foreign missionaries of any society east of 
Oroomiah, except Mr. Bruce of the Church Missionary 
Society, who had recently gone to Julfah, near Ispahan. 

This was the state of mission work in Persia at the 
time of my arrival there in 1871. The number of 
male missionaries was three. One of this number left 
for America in the following summer. Two men were 
expected to arrive in the next autumn. The language 
used in mission work was the Syriac, and the Tartar 
to a less extent, and only in services intended for people 



54 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

other than Nestorians. The subject most urged upon 
the evangelical Nestorians was self-support. The 
Church government might properly be termed either 
Presbyterian or Congregational, and the clergy of the 
Nestorians had no very distinct ideas on the subject. 
There was no self-sustaining church. One congrega- 
tion contributed one-half the support of its native pastor, 
and a few congregations paid smaller amounts. All 
were dependent upon the Mission for support, as were 
the schools also. The pastors were usually selected 
by the missionaries. 

The village schools were sustained at a very small 
expense. The school for girls was essentially free to 
as many pupils as could be accommodated. The ex- 
pense of tuition and board of the young men in the 
seminary at Seir was borne by the Mission. Medical 
aid was given to natives by the physician in part, and 
medicines were dispensed free of cost. The printing 
press had for a long time been in operation using the 
Syriac letters. In this and the following year the 
famine prevailed in Persia. A large number of fam- 
ishing' refugees from other provinces were assisted 
with food, and some were helped on their way to 
Russia. 

The circulation of the Scriptures was carried on 
chiefly in the Nestorian settlements of the plain and 
mountains of Persian Kurdistan. There were no 
scriptures in the Azarbijan or Persian-Turkish lan- 
guage. The Persian scriptures were in octavo volumes 



ill.] HtSTOR V OF THE NESTORIANS. 55 

only, and ill adapted to general circulation. When a 
proposition was made this year by a gentleman in 
England to pay the cost of sending colporteurs to 
Khorasan and Yezd with the Gospels by Luke and 
John it was necessary to have editions of these gospels 
published before the distribution could be undertaken. 

The progress of the Mission up to this time is indi- 
cated by the statistics for the year 187 1. In the report 
there is specified one station, or that of Oroomiah, 
forty-eight out-stations, nine pastors, fifty-two preach- 
ers, forty-six teachers, one thousand and twelve pupils 
in the different schools, nine organized churches, and 
somewhat over seven hundred communicants. It 
should be understood that the pupils and commu- 
nicants were wholly from the Nestorians, as also were 
the teachers and preachers, and quite all the attend- 
ants of these congregations. The term station is used 
to denote the places in which foreign missionaries 
reside, and whence they carry on their missionary 
work ; the out-stations are villages, or cities in which 
native assistants of the missionaries labor as teachers 
or preachers. 

The male members of the Mission have entire con- 
trol of the details of all missionary operations, subject 
to the review and control of the Board in America. By 
a vote of the male missionaries at stated meetings for 
the purpose, the work of every member is determined 
or assigned, and particulars thereof arranged so far as 
possible. To one may be given the supervision of the 



56 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [in. 

press, to another work of translation, and to another 
the charge of schools. There must of necessity be 
great liberty of action within these departments, ex- 
cept in matters requiring the outlay of funds. All 
expenses are determined by the estimates made for 
each department, and cannot be exceeded without 
some special provision being made. 

The ladies having charge of mission work, though 
sent by Woman's Boards in America, are subject to 
the control of the mission as other members are. They 
have ample liberty in their own sphere of effort, and 
their opinions and preferences are respected. 

I remained in Oroomiah until the month of May, 
my time being occupied chiefly with the Turkish as it 
is spoken in Persia. I had opportunity, however, to 
go to many villages on the plain, and so to see much 
of the people in both city and country. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Departure from Oroomiah — Gavalan — Salmas — Alekand — Delamon — 
Construction of the Houses — Decoration — Kalasar — Balakhanah — 
KaraTapa — Sheik Walle — Course to Tabriz — Valley of the Adje Tchai 
— Distances — Diza Khalel — Ale Shah — Position of Tabriz — Aras 
Road — Telegraph — H. B. M. Consulate — Tabriz — Atropatene — 
Tavreez amd Tauris — Tradition of Zobaide — Legend of the Cross — 
Armenians — Their Schools — Church — Number of Armenians in the 
Western Diocese — From Tabriz to Vasbinge — Stations to Meana — 
Aspect of the Country — Roads and Robbers — Punishments — Swift 
Retribution — Turkman Tchai — Famine — Descent to Meana — Valley 
of the Meana Tchai — The Village of Meana — Suffering from Famine — 
Ascent of the Koflan Kuh — Altitude — Description of the Mountain — 
The Kizil Uzen — Road to Jemalabad — The Village — Road to Zengan 
— Sirtchem — Nikpey — The Inn — Lutees and Amusements — Valley of 
the Uzen — Approach to Zengan — Mortality by Famine and Disease 
— Importance of Zengan — Resistance of the Babees in Zengan. 

I left Oroomiah on the twenty-eighth day of May, 
1872, intending to go to Tabriz, Tehran and Hamadan, 
and thence to return to Oroomiah by way of the pro- 
vince of Ardalan. The total distance of the journey 
is about one thousand and sixty-four miles. I had 
been in Oroomiah about six months, and had acquired 
some knowledge of the Persian-Turkish language. I 
took with me two Nestorians ; one to serve as cook, 
and the other as interpreter. 

57 



58 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

The journey in anticipation did not appear to be 
free from disagreeable features. The famine had pre- 
vailed during the winter in Persia. The roads were 
known to be thronged with refugees who were en- 
deavouring to get to Russia and Turkey. Many 
thousands of people had perished within a few months 
past. The course of their wanderings was marked by 
disease and death. It has been conjectured that the 
loss to Persia in the famine by emigration and death, 
was near three millions of souls. There are no means 
by which the fact can be determined. The prospect 
of travelling in the heat of a Persian summer, lodging 
in Persian houses, and riding the entire distance on 
horseback, was not enticing. 

I rode from Oroomiah to Gavalan by the route over 
which we came the last year. The day was rainy and 
the road muddy. My protection from the rain was a 
rubber overcoat. The men covered themselves with 
goat-skin coats called yapuncha. One of the men 
carried an old gun for show, and to intimidate the 
evil disposed, and in his belt a long Persian knife. 
I crossed the mountain which separates the plains 
of Gavalan and Salmas by the pass called Alekand. 
The summit is near six thousand feet above the level 
of the ocean. In descending the northern slope, the 
whole plain of Salmas lay in view. The marble quar- 
ries were seen in the distance. The altitude of the 
plain is about four thousand two hundred feet above 
the ocean. 



iv.] DELAMON. 59 

My toute lay through the city of Delamon, the 
principal town of the plain. As I passed through the 
streets of this place, the effects of the flood caused by 
the rain of the previous day were plainly visible. The 
sudden accumulation of water from the slopes of the 
mountains, in the narrow channel of a small creek, or 
an overflow of the plains and valleys is called by na- 
tives of the country, a sale or salou. In the course of 
a few moments the water had gained a depth in the 
channel of ten and fifteen feet. It overflowed the 
bank of the stream, filled the water courses and the 
streets, and, in the course of an hour or two, caused 
several acres of houses to fall to the ground. Fortu- 
nately the flood came in the day time, and the people 
had time to leave their dwellings before the walls fell. 
In Delamon and the villages adjacent, three hundred 
houses were prostrated, and four men drowned. 

The destructiveness of such a flood is due chiefly 
to the lack of a firm, or stone foundation in the build- 
ings, and to the material of which both the foundation 
and the houses are constructed. The material is sun- 
dried brick. The intense heat of the sun soon dries 
the freshly moulded brick. The mortar is no more 
than mud. In the construction of the ordinaiy houses 
of the poor, these brick are laid in the mud mortar 
upon the surface of the ground. So long a time as 
the water is kept off so that it does not stand near the 
dwelling, the structure is firm, and in the course of 
years the walls become very hard ; but when the water 



60 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

flows for a few moments against the wall, the lower 
bricks dissolve and the superstructure falls. The outer 
surface of the walls is covered with a plaster made of 
sifted earth, and cut straw, which serves as a protection 
against rain. Quite all the houses of Persia are con- 
structed of this material. The better class of dwell- 
ings are built upon a foundation of brick, stone, or 
water cement. 

The roofs of the houses are flat, and constructed in 
a very simple manner. Round timbers being cut of 
the poplar tree, are laid on the top of the walls as 
joist ; over these reeds are placed, and upon them loose 
earth, to a depth of three inches ; over this is spread 
a plaster of mud and cut straw. A slight inclination 
of the roof or of the plaster serves to turn the water 
from the roof to the wooden spouts. A smooth 
dressed stone is used as a roller, by which the plaster 
is pressed and made compact, as occasion may require. 
Cut straw, the chaff of rice, and salt, are often strewn 
upon the roof to make the cement more impervious to 
the rain. The best houses are made of burned brick, 
and set upon deep foundations of stone or burned brick. 
The walls of the interior are plastered with two coats 
of brown mortar composed of mud mixed with straw ; 
over this, when dry, a white cement of gypsum is 
spread. 

While the huts of the peasants are dark and miser- 
able, the dwellings of the rich are often much decorated, 
and many of the rooms are light and beautiful. The 



iv.] DELAMON— HOUSE DECORATIONS. 61 

walls of the best houses are ornamented within, in an 
elaborate manner, with stucco and mirror glass. The 
glass is cut in small pieces and stuck upon the cement 
in many designs, so that the ceiling and wall sparkle 
in the light as if set with diamonds. Wall paper is 
used with good effect, and very expensive patterns are 
sometimes imported. The guest room is usually pro- 
vided with large and elaborately made windows. The 
entire side of a room may be a window made with 
several sections. The sash is often made with very 
small panes and set with stained glass. As I rode 
away from Delamon I noticed fine and large dressed 
stones in some of the foundations; these had been 
brought from some old structure. 

Riding several miles to the east of Delamon, I 
halted, near sunset, at the gate of an Armenian house, 
the home of Badal. He is said to be the richest man 
in the town of Kalasar. He came to the gate and 
offered me his house and all that it contained. It was 
in the form and condition of the houses of well-to-do 
Persians. The rooms occupied three sides of the 
court, and the stable commanded the fourth. Badal 
had been in Constantinople and in Russia, and was 
acquainted somewhat with the customs of Euro- 
peans ; he deviated, therefore, from Oriental ways so 
much as to introduce his wife and daughters. They 
came forward with much diffidence, and with their 
mouths tied up in white handkerchiefs, the signs of 
silence and submission. Two sons, very neat and 



62 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

pretty boys of ten and twelve years, passed a part of 
the evening in my room. The balakhanah or high 
room, that is, the chamber, was placed at my service. 
To this room some very pretty Persian rugs were car- 
ried, and I followed them, being glad to rest after a 
very long and tedious ride from Gavalan. Badal 
passed a good part of the evening in conversation 
with us, and offered us food and wine. 

Leaving Kalasar at the earliest dawn, we rode 
toward the east, the road passing the northern ex- 
tremity of the Shahe Sea, and between it and a rugged 
range of mountains. In about three hours' time we 
came to a hut used as a custom-house. All merchan- 
dise entering the country is subject to a tax of five 
per cent. Evidence being furnished of the payment 
of this duty, no other tax can be lawfully collected. 
Every city, however, levies a tax on all produce and 
merchandise brought into the city for sale. In some 
instances a tax is put upon all goods entering a prov- 
ince, and on all merchandise passing through the 
gates of a city. This tax is for the benefit of the 
province or town through which the goods are con- 
veyed. 

I passed the northern end of the lake and lodged in 
the village of Kara Tapa or Black Hill, so named 
from the appearance of a mound near the village. On 
the next day after passing Sheik Walle, we made our 
manzil in Diza Khalel. This village is six farasangs 
from Sheik Walle. Between Diza Khalel and Kara 



iv.] DIZA KHALEL—ALE SHAH— TABRIZ. 63 

Tapa, the road gradually diverges from the shore of 
the lake, and follows the valley of the Mian and Adje 
Tchai, to Tabriz. It runs on the northern side of 
the valley, during near one-half of the stage, and 
beyond Ale Shah to near the centre of the valley. 
Thence there are two roads ; one crosses the river at 
Mian ; the other runs up the valley to the bridge, and 
there unites with the road from the Aras just without 
the city of Tabriz. This city is thirty or forty miles 
from Lake Oroomiah. It might seem a matter of sur- 
prise that so long a journey should be necessary to 
reach Tabriz from Oroomiah ; for the distance is about 
one hundred and thirty miles. The distance across 
the lake must be much less; but there are no boats 
suitable for the conveyance of passengers, and a cara- 
van of horses or wagons would be necessary from the 
lake to the city. 

Diza Khalel is a fair Persian village of about one 
thousand houses. Remaining here over night, we 
started in the morning early, intending to ride to Tabriz. 
After a ride of about eight miles, we passed the miser- 
able village of Ale Shah. The road from this place to 
Mian, is very dreary, being over an alkaline plain, 
utterly destitute of verdure. The river flows on the 
southern side of the valley, and is crossed at Mian. 

The position of Tabriz is plainly seen by one cross- 
ing the plain. The mountain-ridge on the south side 
of the valley curves to the north, some twenty-five 
miles from Ale Shah, and ten miles from Mian. The 



64 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 



ridge has a gradual slope to the west and northwest, 
as it makes the curve. The city is situated at the foot 
of this declivity. I came upon the Aras road near the 
bridge over the Adje Tchai. The telegraph line of the 
Indo-European Company is upon this road. The iron 
posts and the lines of wire appeared as old friends, and 
seemed to dispel somewhat of the dreary aspect of the 
plain and the barren, parched mountains. Such is 
Persia; from a treeless and desert plain, we enter a 
city of many thousands of people. 

By the courtesy of H. B. M.'s consul, Captain Jones, 
I was furnished with apartments at the consulate. The 
consul had but recently recovered from typhoid fever, 
contracted, as he believed, from the contagion of a 
crowd of refugees from famine, who were permitted 
to assemble in the court of the consulate to receive 
the funds given by the consul. The consulate is a fair 
building of one stoiy, constructed on three sides of 
a spacious court, in which was a prolific growth of 
flowers. Conspicuous among these were red and 
yellow roses. The large double, roses were the finest 
I have seen in Persia ; but they were, I believe, im- 
ported. The altitude of the consulate is very nearly 
that of the mission premises in Oroomiah. 

Tabriz was, in 1872, considered the most populous 
city in the kingdom. It is claimed, however, that 
Tehran is now equally large, if not larger. The usual 
estimate of the population places the number at two 
hundred thousand. About five hundred families are 



iv.] TABRIZ— TRADITIONS. 65 

Armenian, and there are a few Europeans. There is 
a British, a French, and a Russian consulate. The 
firm of Zeigler, of Manchester, is here represented by 
a general agent. There are sub-agents of the firm in 
other cities of Persia. The principal business of this 
firm is the importation of English and European 
goods. The people of Tabriz, excepting the Euro- 
peans and the Armenians, are Mohammedans, and, for 
the most part, are of the Afshar stock. The city has 
been much larger and more populous than it now is. 

Persian writers ascribe great antiquity to the cities 
which have occupied the site of Tabriz. It is claimed 
by some persons that this was the capital of Atro- 
patene, and continued to be such to the time of Strabo. 
There is no good evidence that the capital of Armenia 
was ever located here. It seems to be probable that 
the capital of the satrapy known as Atropatene was 
not at this point, but in or near what is now called 
Meana. 

Armenian writers say that Husrove 1 gained a vic- 
tory here over the. king of Persia, and in a. d. 253 
built a city w r hich he called Davreez, whence some 
have derived the name Tavreez, Tareez, and Tabreez. 
Tabriz is a corruption of the name Tauris, by which 
it is yet known to the Europeans as anciently to the 
Romans. 

No credit is to be given to the tradition which 
attributes the founding of the city to Zobaide, the 

1 Of Armenia. 
5 



66 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

wife of Haroun al Rasheed. She made extensive 
repairs, and is said to have named the place Tabreez, 
or fever dispersing, in consequence of her recovery 
here from protracted fever. 

Armenians say that Khosroes, on his return from 
Jerusalem, brought the true cross to Tabriz, and 
buried it under the fortress situated on the eastern 
side of the city. 

This city appears to have been most prosperous under 
the rule of the Moguls. At one time the revenue from 
imports amounted to over three hundred thousand 
tomans, 1 or about six hundred thousand dollars, and 
forty thousand tomans were collected as the city tax. 
The city was destroyed by an earthquake A. d. 244, 
and was soon thereafter rebuilt. It was overthrown a 
second time on the fourteenth of the month Sefir A. H. 
434. Credulous Persians attribute the preservation 
of the place since the latter date, to the construction 
of many connaughts or water courses, through which, 
they say, the once confined and destructive gases 
escape. 

In former times the city contained five hundred 
thousand souls, and two hundred and fifty mosques ; 
this was in the reign of the Moguls. The more 
famous mosques were those called Ale Shah and 
Jahan Shah. 

One Persian writer says that the people of Tabriz 
are much given to wolf-dancing as a sport, and that a 

1 The toman equals about two dollars. 



iv.] TABRIZ— CUSTOMS. 67 

wolf which could dance well has been known to bring 
as much as five hundred tomans. 

The custom prevails of giving fanciful or poetical 
names to the cities. Tehran is called Dar al Khala- 
fat, or Door of Royalty. Tabriz is called Kobal 
Islam, or the Dome of Islam, and is so named in 
honour of the fanatical zeal of its Mohammedan in- 
habitants. 

The heir apparent, called Valeahd, is required to 
reside in Tabriz until the death of the reigning king. 
There are no natural advantages to create a large city 
here, except that this is a point at which there is a 
union of the lines of commerce to Turkey and 
Georgia. In former years quite all the trade of north- 
ern Persia was by way of Turkey. The imports are 
now largely from Russia. 

The Armenians of Tabriz are merchants and arti- 
sans. The bishop and archbishop for the western 
diocese reside here. They maintain two schools. 
That for boys had about one hundred pupils in three 
departments. A private school for girls was kept in 
another part of the town. The studies were primary. 
The principal Armenian church presented the usual 
dismal aspect of Eastern or Persian churches. The 
walls were adorned with paintings, some of which 
were brought from Vienna. The bishop stated the 
number of Armenians in the diocese to be three 
thousand households, an estimate which gives at least 
fifteen thousand souls. These people live in the plains 



68 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

of Salmas and Oroomiah, and in the cities of Tabriz, 
Oroomiah, and Maragha. 

I left Tabriz on the 7th of June, and rode in 
three hours to the village of Vasbinge. The road 
makes a continuous ascent to this place, and rises to 
an altitude of five thousand five hundred feet above 
the level of the ocean. From the summit there is an 
extended view of the country. On the west, the 
whole valley of the Adje Tchai, Lake Oroomiah, and 
the mountains of Kurdistan ; and on the south the 
Sahund mountains, now apparently very near, yet no 
less than thirty or forty miles distant. 

Between Tabriz and Meana, there are four chapar 
khanahs, and the distance is twenty-four farasangs. 1 
I made the journey in three stages, namely, to Vas- 
binge, Hajah Agah, and Turkoman Tchai. In the 
greater part of this route the country is very high, 
having an altitude of from five to six thousand feet 
above the Atlantic ocean. Much of the land was 
under cultivation in former years, but very little of it 
appeared to have been tilled within the last two years, 
owing to drought and famine. The altitude of this 
region is such that artificial irrigation is unnecessary. 
Land in these high positions is called dame, to dis- 
tinguish it from those tracts which require to be irri- 
gated, in order to the production of a harvest. 

1 The farasang or parsang is a Persian measure of distance, and equal 
to near four English miles. 



iv.] THE KARA DAG MOUNTAIN. 69 

Three farasangs east of Vasbinge is a high and 
narrow ridge. The summit is near seven thousand 
feet above the sea level. It is the highest point between 
Tabriz and Tehran. There was no snow upon this 
mountain; but Sahund was covered with a mantle of 
white far down its sides ; a fact which served to indi- 
cate the height of that mountain. 

The Russian border is about eighty miles distant 
from this the principal caravan route of Northern 
Persia. The Kara Dag mountains and regions of 
Ardabil appear to be a rendezvous for banditti, who 
infest the roads in Georgia and northern Azarbijan in 
turn, as they find most expedient. Near Hajah Agah 
the road is crossed by another from Ardabil, over 
which the robbers make their raids. 

One of my travelling companions told me that some 
years ago, as he was passing this place, he saw the 
skeletons of several robbers who had been seized and 
put to death. A small round tank of brick had been 
constructed, as high as to a man's chin. The con- 
demned man was then put into the tank, and newly 
mixed plaster of Paris poured in, until the tank was 
full. The man was thus suffocated, and permanently 
fixed as a warning to other highwaymen. Sometimes 
the condemned one is placed with the head down in 
a tank, or in a hole excavated for the« purpose, and 
the liquid plaster is poured in until the body is 
firmly fixed ; the feet and ankles are left to protrude. 
Such are some of the Persian methods of punishment. 



70 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

Notwithstanding the severity with which theft and 
robbery are punished, yet there are clans which follow 
the business. It was related to me at another time, 
that a chief of one of the Loree clans entered an 
Armenian village, at the head of several horsemen, at 
night, being exasperated at the refusal of the people to 
comply with his demands, and at the words spoken 
by some of the people. They took the priest and 
some of the principal men of the village, and tied 
them one by one in a sack with a large dog, and then 
beat the dog until in his rage he killed the man tied 
up with him. The Persian governor, hearing of the 
affair, adopted an expedient to arrest the guilty par- 
ties, by which he avoided a battle with the clan. He 
made a hunting excursion into the territory of the 
tribe. Etiquette required that the chief should visit 
the prince. He was sumptuously entertained in the 
pavilion of the governor, his followers being without. 
When his suspicions had been dispelled, in a moment 
an iron band was slipped about his neck and chains 
put upon his feet, and he was thrown alive into one 
of the furnaces with which the baths are heated. 

Turkman Tchai is an insignificant village, noted for 
the treaty concluded here between the commissioners 
of Russia and Persia, and for its horse traders. We 
had been in tfce town but a few moments when several 
natives appeared mounted upon sleek and fat horses 
which the riders desired to sell. My men had been 
told, and they firmly believed, that these traders had a 



iv.] VILLAGE OF ME AN A. 71 

knack of inflating the horses, so that very lean animals 
could be made to appear fat in the course of a few 
moments. Four miles beyond Turkman Tchai, we 
passed the ruins of a village which a few months pre- 
vious contained one hundred families. It was now 
reduced by the famine to fifteen households. Men, 
women and children were met in the way slowly trav- 
elling westward. Many sat by the way eating herbs 
and roots which they had dug up. 

From this place there is a descent to Meana, and 
the country is more broken in the vicinity of the river 
called Meana Tchai. The road comes near this stream 
about ten miles distant from the village of Meana. The 
road follows in part the river bottom and in part the 
mountain side. At Meana the valley is spacious, the 
town being in the vicinity of several streams, the 
largest of which is the Kizil Uzen. In the northeast, 
at a distance, the Elburz range is very distinct and bold, 
having a course toward the south. The town of 
Meana is a miserable collection of about one thousand 
hovels, and the valley is here not more than three 
thousand four hundred feet above the ocean level. 
This is a great depression from the average altitude 
of the country adjacent to the village. The valley is 
fertile and dotted with villages. The river bed is 
wide, and at a point some two miles bel#w the village 
is spanned by a long brick bridge. Rice and cotton 
grow in the valley, and the wheat was now being har- 
vested. 



72 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

Meana has been thought by some persons to occupy 
the site of the ancient Atropatene. It might be said 
that the nearness of the location to the boundary of 
that province, seems to be opposed to the supposition. 
The Koflan Kuh appears to have been the boundary 
of that province as it is now of Azarbijan, and this 
mountain is not more than five miles distant from 
Meana. This village was filled during the winter with 
refugees from the famine, many of whom perished. 
I was told that the dead lay in the streets, and were 
eaten by the dogs. The place is now, as in time past, 
noted for the poisonous bugs which infest the houses. 
The Persians believe that the bite of this insect called 
the mallah is attended with fever and irritation, and 
often proves fatal. It is proved, I believe, that the bite 
produces disagreeable effects. Europeans on entering 
the town are careful to obtain new rooms where they 
may be free from this annoyance. 

After crossing the bridge, we began the ascent of 
the mountain Koflan Kuh, passing up a valley to the 
foot of the pass. The latter part of the way to the 
summit is very precipitous. There is a rough stone 
pavement six paces wide on either side of the higher 
part of the pass. The altitude of the highest point of 
the road, is four thousand six hundred feet. The 
descent on the east is down a long and gradual slope 
to the Kizil Uzen river. The term Koflan Kuh is 
said to mean the lock mountain or the key. It is 
given to a chain of mountains running from this point 



iv.] THE HO FLAN HUH MOUNTAIN. 73 

southward to the mountains of Kurdistan. Through 
this ridge the Uzen flows by a very narrow chasm. 
On either side there are precipitous cliffs and high 
mountains. The Uzen River separates the Koflan Kuh 
from the southern range of the Elburz. 

On the eastern side of the pass, and near the verge 
of the chasm, there is an old fortress of rude con- 
struction, which may have been occupied by guards 
stationed here many years since ; but legend refers the 
structure to a robber chief. 

As we passed the summit and began the descent on 
the east, we came upon three men who were holding a 
fourth, and taking from him whatever he possessed. 
The man seemed to be delighted at our timely arrival, 
and at once claimed to belong to our party. No one 
would suppose that a person of such forlorn aspect 
would be molested for anything that he might be sup- 
posed to possess ; but it is well known by the foot- 
pads of the country, that the appearance of poverty 
often conceals treasures. Very little value is attached 
to life, and the clothing a man has on, or some article 
thereof, may be sufficient incentive to the commission 
of crime. 

The Kizil Uzen is the chief river of Northern 
Persia. It rises in the highland northwest of Hama- 
dan. It flows northeasterly to the Koflan Kuh pass, 
thence descends to ' the Caspian Sea, passing two 
ranges of the Elburz. A brick bridge of three arches 
spans the Uzen at the foot of the mountain. At this 



74 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

season the stream was not fordable. The width of the 
channel was not more than one hundred feet. 

The road from the bridge to Jemalabad follows in 
part the valley of the Uzen and crosses a dreary, 
broken country. The altitude of the valley at the 
bridge is three thousand four hundred feet above the 
surface of the ocean. Jemalabad contains an old 
caravansary, a telegraph station of the Indo-European 
Company, and a few huts occupied by very poor Per- 
sians. From this point the road follows the valley of 
the Uzen to Sirtchem, a distance of three farasangs. 
Thence to Zengan and Sultaneah, it ascends the valley 
of the Zengan Tchai. The principal stations are Sirt- 
chem, Nikpey, and Zengan, and the distance is about 
twenty-three farasangs. 

Sirtchem is a cluster of miserable hovels in which 
caravans find rest and shelter for a night. The forty 
families, inhabitants of this village, have been reduced 
to twenty by the famine. 

Nikpey contains about one hundred and fifty houses. 
A very large caravansary, of burned brick, stands at the 
entrance of the town. About fifty persons, refugees 
from Hamadan, died here of the famine. 

As there seemed to be little or no choice in the 
place of entertainments afforded by the town, we 
followed the first candidate for guests, and found 
that we had secured the best the village had to offer. 
A seat was provided in the gateway, and a young 
Mussulman woman brought a new Persian rug, and 



IV.] VALLE Y OF THE UZEN. 75 

put it on the earthen dalan. My room was thus put 
in order. 

While I was resting in the gateway, three men came 
to the door : One began to sing ; another played a 
stringed instrument called a tar ; another beat a tam- 
bourine. One of the company juggled. His perform- 
ances were many and dexterously done. He put a 
string through his tongue, stuck an egg on each ear 
as an ear-ring. Taking a bow with two taut strings, 
he put a ball upon the strings, and by a dexterous 
motion of the bow, caused the balls to roll to the top 
when the bow was held nearly perpendicular. 

These men are called Lutees, a term which some 
persons have said is derived from the name of Lot, but 
which comes from a word meaning pleasure. They 
are a disreputable class, but are the manufacturers of 
amusements for the people, and furnish the dancers 
and musicians. It is a remarkable feature in the life 
of these Orientals that they have no public amuse- 
ments. I know of no class of persons who make it a 
business to furnish amusement to the people except 
the Lutees. The resources of these professionals seem 
to be exhausted when they have played the tar, sung, 
danced, performed a little jugglery, and exhibited a 
monkey or a decrepid lion. 

The valley of the Uzen and of the Zengan Tchai is 
quite wholly without cultivation, and a most desolate 
region. From Sirtchem to Nikpey, a distance of thirty 
miles, there was neither house nor tilled field. A few 



76 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [iv. 

tents inhabited by Elyots, and midway of the stage 
were the only human habitations. 

Late in the afternoon we rode about two farasangs 
to the village of Zanje where we remained for the 
night. In the morning early we started for Zengan, 
said to be four farasangs distant. On approaching the 
outskirts of the city we passed an extensive graveyard. 
Near by was a hut through which a rill of water flowed. 
This is the house for the baptism of the dead. A num- 
ber of naked corpses were lying on the ground with- 
out the house. I know not how many may have been 
within the wash-room. As we rode through the city 
gate we met two men bearing on their shoulders a very 
rude bier in which was the blackened corpse of one 
who had died of famine. 

While in this city I learned that the reports of the 
prevalence of the famine and typus fever here were, in 
the main, true. At this time the number of deaths daily 
was sixty. The population of the city was said to be 
about forty thousand, an estimate which I judge to be 
very large. The famine had been very severe during 
the winter. At first only refugees from other places 
died from this cause, but later many of the citizens 
died. In the nine months preceding, five thousand 
six hundred and thirty dead bodies were carried out 
of one gate for burial, and one thousand one hundred 
in the last forty-six days. In the same period of nine 
months there had been borne through another city 
gate five thousand dead bodies. It was thought that 



iv.] ZENGAN— ITS IMPORTANCE. 77 

the water had become polluted, since some of the 
water courses passed near or under the cemeteries. 

The city of Zengan is an old town, and was once 
more prosperous and important than now. It has not 
regained the position of power which it possessed 
before it was taken and destroyed by the Moguls. 
The celebrated sheik, Abal Abas, who died a. h. 557 
was buried here. Zengan is one of the most import- 
ant cities of the second class. It is near midway be- 
tween Tabriz and Tehran. In late years it has been 
noted for the power acquired here by the Babees. In 
1850 the chief mullah of Zengan, Mohammed Ale, 
having embraced the tenets of the Bab, drew to him- 
self a large number of adherents and took possession 
of the city. Troops were sent from Tehran, and in 
time the Babees were driven to the southeastern quar- 
ter of the town. Here they constructed defences and 
held the position during a year. 

It is related of the Babees that they were fanatical 
and cruel, and that they tortured all prisoners taken by 
them. A Persian writer says that some of their cap- 
tives were shod as horses ; others were suspended 
from beams by one arm, and others were burned to 
death. The Babee women engaged in the defence, 
sharing the danger with their husbands and brothers. 
When their leader Ale was slain, his followers became 
discouraged; their defences were taken, and all the 
surviving Babees, men, women and children, were 
massacred. 



CHAPTER V. 

Zengan to Sultaneah — Palace of Fattah Ale Shah — Founding of Sulta- 
neah — Principal Structures — Mausoleum of Mullah Hassan Kashe — 
Altitude and Position of Sultaneah — Route to Casveen — Horumda- 
rah — Famine — Abhar, its Location and History — Unreasonable Iden- 
tification with Habor — Valley and Villages of the Kemah Rud — Sea- 
dum — Tat — Road to Casveen — Wells and Connaughts — Perils of 
Travel — Situation of Casveen — Gardens and Productions — History — 
Population — Routes to Tehran — Departure from Casveen — Night 
Marches — Anxiety of the Persians and Imaginary Dangers — Haunts 
of the Assassins — The Story of Hassan — The Name Assassin — The 
Kurdish Warrior — An Episode — Kishlak to Tehran — Coal Mines — ■ 

j Karaj — The River and Village — Water Course to Tehran — Road from 
Karaj to Tehran — Approach to Tehran — Position of the City — Posi- 
tion of Raghes and Ra — Entrance to Tehran — Situation — Rise to 
Importance — Changes in the City and its Improvement — Gates — Des- 
ert and Aspect of the Environs — Heat and Reptiles. 

Sultaneah is six farasangs eastward of Zengan. The 
road follows the valley of the Zengan Tchai. The val- 
ley is here much narrower, and decreases in width to 
the summit. It is, however, very spacious, and the 
ascent is very gradual. It is formed by two ranges of 
the Elburz, though the southern range at its eastern 
extremity, seems to be a continuation of the system of 
mountains in Northern Azarbijan, and to be connected 
with the Sahund. 
78 



v.] ZENGAN TO SUL TANEAH. 79 

The road is fairly passable for wagons ; the chief 
obstructions being the small stones which have accu- 
mulated in the way. Carriages and wagons are driven 
over quite all the way from Tehran to Tabriz, following 
the track of the caravans ; for no effort has been made 
to construct a wagon-road, except from Casveen to the 
capital. There are portions of the way which are 
wellnigh impassable for wheeled vehicles. The upper 
part of the valley abounds in springs of water, and 
verdure. The land is fertile, but the extreme cold of 
the winter at this altitude of six thousand feet prevents 
Persians from living here in any large numbers. There 
are but few villages in the valley, and it appears to be 
used chiefly for grazing flocks and herds. 

The dome of the mausoleum of Sultan Khodaband, 
was visible at a distance of near twelve miles. On 
approaching the place, the palace of Nasir id Deen 
Shah was a conspicuous object. The keeper of the 
palace permitted us to occupy rooms in the principal 
building. The palace is built on an artificial mound 
covering several acres, the top of which is thirty feet 
above the surface of the adjacent plain. There is a 
gradual descent to the north. Persian history relates 
that the completion of Sultaneah and the importance 
of the city were due to Khodaband, of the line of 
Tchengis Khan. Before the reign of this prince there 
was a village at this place called Kunkure. Sultan 
Khodaband caused some building to be done in further- 
ance of the plans of his father, Argun Khan, grandson of 



80 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

Huluku Khan. The real founder of the city was the 
Christian prince Argun. He died before the com- 
pletion of the work. The succession fell to Khoda- 
band. This prince continued the work of construc- 
tion on a large scale. He ordered a citadel to be 
erected of hewn stone. Many architects, painters, and 
skillful workmen were employed. The labourers began 
to work every morning at sunrise, and laboured until 
midday, when they ceased to work, and the money for 
the day's toil was paid to them. 

The principal structures were a citadel, a palace, a 
school, and a mausoleum. The citadel had its walls 
of such a width on the top that four horsemen could 
ride abreast on it. It was four-square, every side hav- 
ing a length of five hundred gaz. It possessed one 
gate and sixteen towers. The Sultan and princes had 
palaces within this structure. 

Khodaband built for himself a tomb, a mosque, a 
palace, and gardens. The palace possessed a porch 
resembling that of the Kesra near Karbalah ; and a 
dewan khanah, in the court of which two thousand 
people could assemble. The king erected an asylum, 
called the Court of Grace. Persian historians say 
that Hajah Rasheed al Hak va Deen, a physician, built 
a palace which contained a school and hospital which 
had many pupils and teachers. Khodaband constructed 
a wall also, and the city was completed about a. h. 
704. 

The palace now standing is said to have been 



v.] r A LACE OF FATTAH ALE SHAH. 81 

erected by Fattah Ale Shah, and it is believed to stand 
on the site of the one built by Khodaband. The mound 
on which this building is situated is an accumulation 
of the former structures. In the course of centuries 
the sun-dried brick have crumbled and left the hill 
upon which the reigning Shah has his palace. 

There are few or no objects of interest in the build- 
ing. The dewan khanah, a reception-room, has on 
its walls ten life-size portraits of the ten sons of Fattah 
Ale Shah. The end of this hall is adorned with a 
large painting covering the whole wall. It represents 
a hunting excursion by the Shah. The king is the 
central figure of the picture. He is in the act of 
spearing a gazelle. From this room there is a long 
arched corridor, which ascends for a long distance to a 
flight of six steps, by which ascent is made to a pave- 
ment. From this point there is another stairway and 
corridor to the door of the king's private chamber. 
The tower near the centre contained the king's sleep- 
ing apartment. The whole palace is going to ruin. 
It is said that the Shah Nasir id Deen has made no 
visit to this place in a period of nine years. The bath 
is a short distance from the principal enclosure. It 
contains some beautiful enameled tiles. I suppose the 
bath was formerly connected by proper passages with 
the main palace. 

The mausoleum called that of Khodaband is by far 
the most conspicuous and interesting object in Sulta- 
neah. It is said to be in a better state of preservation 



82 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

than any other structure of the same age in Persia. 
It is located about one mile and a half southeast of 
the palace. A great part of the original building has 
disappeared. That which now stands is the main 
rotunda and a transept ; over each of these there is a 
dome of burned brick. The entire building was of 
this material, except the stone used in the foundation 
and in ornamentation. That which I call a rotunda, is 
a high tower, the octagonal walls of which support the 
dome. The top of the dome must be near one hun- 
dred and forty feet from the ground. The rains of 
many centuries have worn deep ditches and gashes in 
the brick dome, revealing tiers of brick of which it is 
formed. Here and there within the walls are patches 
of gilding and enameled tiling showing the former 
finish of the interior. There is evidence that there 
was originally a structure at each side of the octagon, 
which may be called a transept, except at the portal. 
The front has a face of dressed stone and alabaster, 
and the cornice is of alabaster, much of which yet 
remains in place. 

Whatever pertained to this mosque other than I 
have described, has been either pulled down or has 
fallen of its own weight. The hovels of the villagers 
near by contain red brick, which, evidently, have been 
pulled out of the mosque. 

While passing to the transept, the native guide 
called our attention to a place where the floor of earth 
had been broken up and fresh earth filled in. He said 



v.] MA US OLE UM AT SUL TANEAH. S3 

that a passage had been opened to the vault beneath 
for the purpose of putting into the vault the dead 
bodies of persons who had died of famine in the win- 
ter of 1 87 1-2. There were graves of little children 
in the earthen floor of the transept. The refugees from 
other districts of the country resorted to the mauso- 
leum for protection from cold and snow. Here in this 
fireless and dreary place they lay down to die. The 
depth of the snow at this altitude, the frozen ground, 
and the apathy of the people, prevented the usual inter- 
ment in the graveyards, and the dead carcasses of hu- 
man beings to the number of five hundred were thrown 
into the transept, until, as it was said, the condition of 
the ground should permit interment in the field. As 
spring returned and the refugees had disappeared, the 
passage had been filled up again. 

A short distance southwest of the mausoleum, 
there is the fragment of a heavy stone wall which 
I take to be a remnant of the stone wall of the 
citadel, described above as built in the founding of 
the city. 

Khodaband was the first sovereign of Persia to pro- 
claim the Sheah faith as the national religion, excepting 
the Ismaelites who ruled from Almood. He is said to 
be the first to proclaim the Sheah faith, owing to the 
fact that he caused the Friday service in the mosques 
to be opened by the calling of the names of the twelve 
Imams. It is believed that Khodaband intended to 
remove the remains of Ale from Najaf, and of Hosein 



84 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

from Karbalah to Sultaneah. There does not, how- 
ever, appear to be any real evidence for this opinion. 

The tomb of Mullah Hassan Kashee is about half 
a mile south of the village. The gate of this mauso- 
leum was open and the place has no custodian. The 
dome is covered with green tiles, and the whole struc- 
ture is insignificant in its contrast with the mausoleum 
of the kings. The court was filled with rose bushes, 
and the blossoms presented a curious mixture of 
red and yellow tints. The top of the flower leaves 
was of one colour, and the under surface of another 
colour. The towers and domes of other Imam Zadahs 
were to be seen at a distance west of the shrine of 
Hassan. 

Sultaneah is on the water shed of the Zengan Tchai 
flowing west, and the Kemah Rud flowing east. The 
altitude is six thousand feet. The valley to the east 
has a continuous descent to the desert of Khorasan, 
into which it carries the waters of the southern face of 
the Elburz, as far east as Shah Abd al Azeem; or about 
one hundred and eighty miles. 

On leaving this abode of the former Sultans, we 
followed the course of the valley, to the village of 
Horumdarah, and thence by a circuitous route to 
Seadum, and Casveen. The chapar road to the second 
named place is shorter by three farasangs. The lower 
and longer road is passable for carriages as the other 
two routes to Casveen are not. A shorter road is that 
which diverges from the chapar route near Hasar, and 



v.] HORUMDARAH— FAMINE. 85 

Sain Kalah, and crosses the mountains on the northern 
side of the valley by way of Kilishkin. 

Near Sain Kalah we passed a herd of about fifteen 
hundred camels, and a caravan of two hundred horses. 
The loads borne by these animals were stacked near 
the roadside, and consisted of wheat en route from 
Khoy to Tehran. Further on in the stage, we passed 
a herd of six hundred horses, the property of the 
Shah. These animals were being driven to the 
plains of Sultaneah to graze. This fact explained 
the anxiety of the natives of that village to mow the 
grass. 

Horumdarah is a village of one thousand houses, or 
about five thousand souls. It is seven farasangs dis- 
tant from Sultaneah. The plain adjacent to the village 
is well under cultivation. It was reported that two 
hundred people died here of the famine. The fact 
seemed to be authenticated by the authorities that 
human flesh had been eaten by the famishing. One 
man had been executed for this offense. He confessed 
to having killed one person for the purpose of devour- 
ing the flesh, preferring the flesh of the slain to such as 
had .died of disease or from hunger. 

In the next stage of nine farasangs to Seadum we 
passed the village of Abhar. It is about four miles 
east of Horumdarah, on the banks of the Kemah Rud. 
The stream has here a somewhat deep valley. I think 
the village must be near two miles from the caravan 
road. The extensive gardens and abundance of fruit 



86 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

and other trees gave a verdant and refreshing aspect 
to the situation of the village. 

Some travellers as respectable as Sir K. Porter have' 
jumped to the conclusion that this village occupies the 
site, and retains the name of the Habor to which the 
captive Israelites were transported by Shalmaneser. 
The theory is that the Uzen is the Gozen of scripture 
and Abhar is Habor. The theory has I believe been 
long time exploded. Persian history seems to be ad- 
verse to the conjecture, for it tells us that the ancient 
city was built by Darius who was defeated by Alex.- 
ander the Great. Persian writers say that a citadel 
was constructed here by Darius which is called Dara. 
Sultan Haidar built a fortress in the place and named 
it Haidareyah. 

There are many villages along the banks of the 
Kemah. The mountain range on the north terminates 
near and west of Seadum, and the valley is here 
widened to the main range of the Elburz. Seadum is 
a miserable village of a thousand houses, and an alti- 
tude above the ocean of four thousand feet. Extensive 
gardens lie on the south of the town. The people of 
this and some other villages in this vicinity speak a 
jargon which they call Tat. It is said to be a mixture 
of Kurdish and Persian. The contribution of Seadum 
to the famine was two hundred dead. 

The road hence crosses the plain in a northeasterly 
direction to Casveen, a distance of five farasangs. The 
greater part of the way is through a country which is 



V.] ROAD TO CAS VEEN. 87 

utterly destitute of verdure. The surface of the plain 
is much broken and cut with small mounds of earth 
which have been thrown up where wells have been 
dug, and therefore indicate the course of connaughts. 
These wells are in most places uncovered, and are 
sometimes in the road. Beasts of burden and men 
are in danger of falling into them when travelling at 
night. As we approached Casveen on a subsequent 
journey to this, the chapar shagird pointed out a well 
by the roadside into which he said three of his horses 
had once plunged. 

An English gentleman was once riding chapar by 
night in another part of the country. The shagird 
rode on in advance a few yards ; in a certain place he 
observed that the English gentleman was not to be 
seen or heard ; he therefore returned to a well which 
was open in the road, and found that both horse and 
rider had fallen into it ; fortunately the horse had 
fallen first and lay beneath his rider. The man was 
obliged to remain in this position until the post boy 
could obtain assistance from a village some distance 
from the highway. Both horse and rider were extri- 
cated, and suffered no serious harm, although the fall 
was not less than twenty-five feet. 

Casveen is situated in a level part of the plain, 
which seems to have here a width of not less than 
thirty miles. The nearest mountains of Elburz may be 
six or eight miles distant on the north. A small 
stream rises east of the town, and flowing west is lost 



88 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

in the plain. Extensive gardens are cultivated in the 
environs of the city; the principal productions are very- 
fine grapes for which the place is noted. Persian 
writers attribute very great antiquity to the first city 
built here. Some of them claim that the city was 
founded by Shahpoor, son of Ardashir. Others say 
that Shahpoor ZulaktofT constructed the city after his 
escape from imprisonment by the Roman emperor. 
The era assigned by them to this event is four hundred 
and forty-one years before Mohammed. Some refer 
the city to Bairom. There was an important town 
here at the time of the Mohammedan conquest of the. 
country, and it figures in all the subsequent history of 
Persia. 

The name Casveen is said by some writers to be of 
more recent origin than the founding of the first city. 
A battle was fought in this place between one of the 
Akossara and Dailamites. When the former put the 
battle in order a part of his forces were defeated, which 
he described to his aids as a Keshveen, by saying 
that an army makes keshveen, or wrong, to be right. 
On gaining the battle he built a city and called it 
Kashveen, whence we have the name Casveen. 

Haroun al Rasheed is said to have restored the city 
in his time. The mosque and wall begun by him 
were completed by the vizier of Arslan the Suljuk. 
In the decline of the Mogul power there was no 
remnant of the wall to be found. The city has now a 
population estimated at thirty thousand souls. All the 



v.] SITUATION OF CASVEEN. 89 

inhabitants are Mohammedans, except about a dozen 
Armenians. The city owes its importance to the plain 
adjacent, and especially to the fact that this is the point 
of union of the caravan route to Rasht, and that which 
runs from east to west along the base of the Elburz 
range. The governor's palace occupies extensive 
grounds in the eastern part of the town. A broad 
avenue leads to the palace gateway. 

Here, as in quite all Persian towns, the public reser- 
voirs of water are curious and conspicuous structures. 
The body of water lies below the surface of the ground 
in a brick cistern. A long flight of steps descends to 
a facet placed at the bottom of the cistern. Hence 
the water is borne in jugs and leathern bags by the 
people. The front of the reservoir is usually a smooth 
square wall some thirty feet high, covered with glazed 
tiles in several colours. Each corner of the front is 
surmounted by a minaret finished with the same style 
of brick work. The streets of Casveen are for the 
most part narrow and filthy. Some of the caravansa- 
ries and bazaars are fair structures of their kind. 

This town suffered sorely from the famine. The 
bazaars and streets were full of famishing people. 
Women and children were seen in the streets break- 
ing the bones of dead animals to obtain the marrow 
in them. A large number of houses were deserted 
and unroofed. This desolation was brought about by 
the people being compelled to sell everything they 
possessed to obtain food. At first they sold their car- 



90 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 



pets, ornaments and household stuff. When the pro- 
ceeds of the sale of these articles were consumed, the 
people pulled out the doors and wood-work of their 
houses, which they sold for whatever they could obtain. 
Then the roofs were broken up for the timber in them. 
The houses thus unroofed fell to ruins. The people 
fled, to die on the way to some more favoured region. 
At this time the severity of the famine had passed, 
yet there were reported thirty deaths daily from this 
cause alone. 

As I passed on foot through the streets, the poor 
people gathered in crowds about me calling for alms 
and help. The more they cried out so much the more 
the crowd increased. It began to be a serious question 
how I should get clear of the annoyance and possible 
danger. I thought of the expedient of sowing a lot 
of copper coins. This had the desired effect. While 
the people were intent on picking up the coins, I 
succeeded in getting out of their sight. 

Casveen is twenty-four farasangs west of Tehran ; 
thirty farasangs from Rasht, and four or five days' 
journey from Hamadan. The distance to Tehran 
may be called one hundred miles. The principal road 
is that called the Chapar route. There were two 
roads, one following the valley, the other keeping 
close to the mountains. The plain is level and but 
little cultivated. The usual stations made by caravans 
were Aleabad, Kishlak, Sefir Hojah, Meanjub, and 
Tehran. The new wagon-road has now changed the 



V.J DEPARTURE FROM CAS VEEN. 91 

stations. Four chapar khanahs divide the stages into 
six, of four farasangs each. Very good post houses 
have been erected, obviating the necessity of lodging 
in the villages. But in 1872, the post-road had not 
been thought of, and the usual route was over the 
level plain. 

We left Casveen near sunset, intending to ride three 
farasangs to Aleabad ; but, as the village is off the road 
a short distance, we did not see it, and so passed on 
to Kishlak. In this stage we pass within four or five 
farasangs of the famous mountain called Almood, 
noted as the stronghold of Hassan Saba, the chief 
of the Ismaelite sect commonly called the Assassins. 

On the following evening we started with the twi- 
light and the rising moon, intending to go to Sefir 
Hojah, a distance of six farasangs. After we had rid- 
den a few miles, the road appeared to take a course 
toward the mountains. The two Persians now began 
to protest against travelling at night; they argued 
that being a stranger in the country, I could not ap- 
preciate the dangers of the situation. The people of 
the country, they said, were desperate characters, and 
the mountains were infested with robbers who could 
easily come down upon us here, and rob and kill as 
they might choose, without any possible chance of 
escape for us, or of detection of the robbers by our 
friends. The men had evidently heard some legend 
of the bands of Hassan, whose rendezvous was now 
so near. 



92 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

The fortress of Almood has long since gone to 
ruim The devastations of six and a half centuries 
since the last of the Assassins have obliterated all 
traces of these fanatics, except such as are left in the 
rocks of the mountain-peak, and the structures erected 
upon it. But in the imagination of the simple-minded 
natives, the spirit of the Assassins seems to frequent 
their ancient haunts in the shadows of these cliffs. 

The story of Hassan, though one with which the stu- 
dent of history is very familiar, and though it present a 
revolting phase of human nature, is, nevertheless, one 
of thrilling interest, and takes on some new and curious 
features as we read it from the pages of the Persian 
writers. 

Hassan, the son of Saba, was born near the city of 
Tus, in Khorasan. When a youth he went to Nisha- 
poor, and studied in the school of Imam Mayafak, an 
eminent teacher of the Ismaelite sect of the Aleites. 
The youth here gained the reputation of being a re- 
cluse. He formed a close friendship with two other 
young men, whose career became intimately connected 
with his own. At this time, Arslan,. of the Suljuk 
dynasty, ruled in Persia. The three youths bound 
themselves with an oath that they would make one of 
their number Grand Vizier, under the compact that he, 
on rising to power, should assist the other two com- 
panions, and make them equal to himself. One be- 
came vizier ; he relates of the other two, that Omar 
Hayoon came to him, and referred to the obligation 



v.] THE STOR Y OF HASSAN. 93 

assumed. He refused to take an office in the govern- 
ment, preferring a gift of a few hundred tomans. Hav- 
ing received the money he retired to Nishapoor and 
devoted his life to the study of mathematics, in which 
pursuit he became distinguished. 

Hassan, says the same authority, also came to the 
vizier. The latter introduced him to the king, by 
whom he was promoted ; but having formed a plot to 
supplant the vizier, he came under the displeasure of 
the court. He went to Ra and thence to Ispahan. Here 
he endeavoured to bring the governor into alliance with 
himself. He is reported to have said : " If I can find 
two faithful adherents I can overthrow the Turkish 
rule in Persia." His proposals resulted in a loss of the 
friendship of the governor, and he retired to Egypt. 
He was received with distinguished favour by the Kha- 
lafah of the Ismaelites ; but being involved in the con- 
troversies about the succession, he returned to Persia, 
where, after leading an unsettled life, he came to the 
city of Damgan. He remained here three years, 
preaching the tenets of the Ismaelites, and making 
many proselytes, with whom -he retired to the village 
and mountain of Almood. Being pursued by the 
forces of the vizier he fled ; but, in a short time there- 
after, got possession of the fortress by stratagem. He 
succeeded in getting the place full of his own men under 
the disguise of refugees. Hassan was drawn up by 
his comrades to the fortress at night His entrance 
to the citadel forms an era, and took place a. h. 483. 



94 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

Several military expeditions sent against Hassan 
were unsuccessful, and fell into his hands, more 
through the blunders of their generals, than because 
of any strength in the chief of the Ismaelites. Having 
got possession of Almood, Hassan soon became mas- 
ter of other fortresses in the mountains contiguous to 
him. When sorely pressed by the forces of the king, 
he was relieved by three hundred men of Casveen, 
who joined his little army at night. Hassan became 
famous especially on account of the completely organ- 
ized system of assassination which he devised, and his 
successors perpetuated. It is claimed by some persons 
that the word assassin ! came from his name. He 
possessed a band of men called the " Devoted Ones " ; 
they were bound by an oath, and carried a dagger 
concealed under the outer coat. The first assassination 
ordered by the founder of the sect was the companion 
of his schooldays, the vizier of Arslan. The king him- 
self, on awaking one morning, found a dagger stuck in 
the floor at the head of his divan, with a letter attached 
to it, from Hassan, warning him against attempting any 
further opposition to the Ismaelites. This Shiek al 
Yebel, as he was called, retained his power by intrigue, 
and by letting his bands to be allies of contending fac- 
tions and princes. The members of the devoted band 
went everywhere, throughout Persia, Syria, and Egypt. 

1 Webster says it is derived from h'ashesh, the intoxicating drink used 
by the Assassins. This, I believe to be an error, and that, as the Assas- 
sins were called by natives Hassaneen, the word sprang from that use. 



v.] THE KURDISH WARRIOR. 95 

Yet their chief remained a recluse and saint in the 
citadel on Almood, and during a period of thirty-five 
years did not leave the fortress. His hermit life con- 
tributed to the mystery which invested his name and 
person, and was one cause of the influence which he 
exerted over the minds of the people. 

On the approach of death, Hassan appointed Kaon 
Bouk Omeed, or the Great Hope, to be his successor, 
and expired on the 25th of the month Rabe al Akher 
A. h. 518. His successors held their stronghold for a 
period of near one hundred and thirty years, and until 
they were extirpated, and their citadel destroyed by 
Huluku Khan a. d. 1253. 

The anxiety of my men grew more intense as the 
moon descended and seemed about to leave us in dark- 
ness. On my asking if they were afraid, the answer 
was no, so long a time as no one appears. They led 
the way a few paces. The clattering of horses feet was 
now heard, and in the dim misty moonlight we could 
discern the outline of horsemen in front. Then one of 
them came toward us at full run, and wheeling off to 
our right a few paces poised his lance and stood still a 
moment. He carried a shield, and the belt about his 
waist was set with pistols, revolvers and knives. It 
was evident that he was a Kurd. I looked for my 
men, and perceived that they had both fallen to the 
rear. The Kurd shouted, and was answered by his 
companion in front, and a European, a member of one 
of the Legations in Tehran, rode by. The Kurd was 



96 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

an escort of the European. He had made a dash for- 
ward to ascertain whether we were marauders or peace- 
ful travellers, while his charge remained at a safe dis- 
tance. The drooping courage of my men revived, 
and the ludicrous issue of this affair seemed to dispel 
any fear which remained. The episode occupied their 
thoughts for some time, and the first faint ray of dawn 
touched the eastern horizon before their thoughts 
reverted to the mountains and the robber bands. 

From Kishlak to Karaj there is no village or object 
of special interest on the upper road. About two 
farasangs north of Kishlak there are mines of coal. 
All the mountain from near Casveen to the Karaj 
River seems to contain bituminous coal of good 
quality. It is conveyed to Tehran in sacks on the 
backs of camels, and is pretty well pulverized in the 
transportation. It is sold in the city at about two 
tomans per kharwar, or near four dollars for seven 
hundred pounds. The mines in this ridge, and one 
near Damavand are, I believe, the only mines of coal 
now opened in the kingdom. 

Karaj is the name of a small river which issues from 
the Elburz mountains. It flows south and east, and is 
lost in the border of the desert of Khorasan. The 
highway crosses the river by a brick bridge. It is 
near eight farasangs from Kishlak to the river. A 
small village bearing the name of this stream is situated 
near the bridge and on the western side of the river. 
The conspicuous objects in the village are an imposing 



v.] KARA J— THE RIVER AND VILLAGE. 97 



gateway, and a palace of the Shah, out of which the 
high tower of the king's chamber rises as at Sultaneah 
and in other palaces. At a short distance north of the 
bridge the river issues from a deep glen in a rippling 
and foaming torrent. The stream was now swollen by 
the rains and melting snows of spring. This place is 
the site of a town called Sulemaneah. It is much 
better adapted to the requirements of a large city than 
is the site of the capital. 

The Karaj River alone would seem to be an advan- 
tage outweighing all other considerations ; but other 
things than a supply of water seem to have fixed the 
site of the capital cities in this region, for % the great 
cities of past time which have flourished in this valley, 
have been located from twenty-five to fifty miles east- 
ward of this point. It was attempted to construct a 
canal from the Karaj to Tehran, but the engineers did 
not succeed in getting the water so high as the site of 
Tehran. 

Remaining in this village until twilight we then rode 
to the chapar khanah, called Meanjub, a name which 
means amo?tg the water courses. Hence to Tehran the 
distance is four farasangs, which I accomplished on 
the next morning. The road from Karaj makes a wide 
detour around the bold mountain which here projects 
into the plain. From Meanjub the road follows a 
gradual ascent of the plain for a distance of two fara- 
sangs, thence to the city there is a continuous though 
very gradual descent. 
7 



98 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

There is nothing here in the way of public improve- 
ments to remind one of his approach to the capital of 
the " King of Kings." From the eastern slope, the city 
is visible in dim outline. Dull brown roofs and wails, 
with here and there a minar and dome, were the 
prominent features presented to view. All archi- 
tecture sinks into insignificance in contrast with the 
high mountains which stand in a semicircle about the 
city. On the left mount Shimron rises to the height 
of near twelve thousand feet 1 above the surface of the 
Atlantic Ocean, and eight thousand five hundred feet 
above the city. On the northeast the mountain ridge 
which separates the waters of the Jorje Rud from the 
plain of Tehran, and east of and towering above this 
the smooth, white cone of Damavand rising to a height 
of near nineteen thousand feet above the ocean ; on 
the east and southeast a cluster of less elevated mount- 
ains extending into the plain, and terminating near the 
village of Shah Abd al Azeem, and the site of the once 
famous city of Ra. 

In all historic ages there has been a great city at or 
near this point. It is believed that Raghes was situ- 
ated either on the site occupied by Ra, or was about 
five farasangs further east. It was a populous city and 
cotemporary with Babylon and Nineveh in the most 
prosperous era of those kingdoms, and contained a 
million and a half of people. The Mohammedans in 
their conquest of the county found Ra a populous city. 
1 Eleven thousand seven hundred and fifty feet. 



v.] TEHRAN—SURROUNDINGS. 99 

It continued to be the chief city of Northern Persia 
during the dynasties of the Khalafahs. It was taken 
by the moguls and its inhabitants slaughtered or dis- 
persed. The ruins of this city are about six miles 
southeastward of Tehran. The mounds and fragments 
of the old wall are yet plainly visible. The circuit as 
traced by these remains, must have been an extended 
one. The ruins of the structures cover a broad tract 
of land now under the plough, and in part occupied 
by the village of Shah Abd al Azeem. The tower of 
Yezed is yet standing. It is of burned brick, and was 
the mausoleum of a governor of that name. The 
construction is Saracenic. Some distance east of this 
there is a broken tower of stone, and a vault on the 
mountain side. 

The broken brick and fragments of pottery are 
scattered over a wide area. I have here noted 
what I observed in years subsequent to my arrival 
in Tehran. 

I entered the city by the gate No or New, and rode 
through the bazaars to the northern side of the town, 
and the quarter occupied by Europeans. 

Tehran is situated on the southern slope of Shimron, 
and at the foot of that mountain. It has an altitude 
of three thousand five hundred feet above the sea, and 
is in latitude 35 ° 40'. It was an insignificant village 
until the rise of the Kajar dynasty of Shahs. The 
first of the Kajars, Agah Mohammed assumed the 
title of Shah in 1796. But the town had been occu- 



ioo THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [v. 

pied by him for more than ten years previous to this 
date, and before the fall of the Zand dynasty. The city 
has been described by travellers as contracted and un- 
healthful. This was true of the old city. But within 
five years previous to the date of my visit, the old 
walls had been in good part torn down, the moat filled 
up, and a large area about the entire city had been 
enclosed by a ditch and earthworks. The space in- 
cluded has been divided by wide streets, and the sup- 
ply of water has been increased by the construction of 
connaughts. These changes, with the growth of shade 
trees, the opening of parks and gardens, have had a 
favourable effect upon the climate, and have reduced 
the average temperature of the summer by several 
degrees. Tehran is now 1 the most cleanly and 
healthful city in Persia. It is surrounded by a 
moat which gives to the place the form of an oc- 
tagon. It has twelve gates, three on each side. 
These are surmounted with small minarets, and the 
outer surface is covered with mosaic work of glazed 
tiles. 

All without the wall is barren. As far as the eye 
can see there is a broad and treeless plain, except here 
and there a small cluster of trees as oases in the desert. 
Such is the aspect of the entire circuit of the adjacent 
plains and mountains. To the southeast the desert 
of Khorasan is bounded by the horizon only. The 
sky is cloudless continuously during near six months 



v.] TEHRAN—HEAT AND REPTILES. ioi 

of the year. The usual temperature of the summer 
in the ordinary dwellings of the natives is 90 to ioo° 
Fahrenheit. Scorpions, tarantulas, centipedes and poi- 
sonous serpents infest the heated plain, and frequent 
the old walls and dwellings of the city. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Principal structures of Tehran — Streets and Gates — Palace of the Sun — 
War Department — King's College — King's Treasury — King's Stables 
— Gardens — Gulishan — Lala Zar or Garden of Tulips — Tob Maidon 
or Place of the Cannon — Mosques of Tehran — Names of Precincts — 
The Bazaars — Soldiers — Water — Public Baths — British Legation — 
Quarters of the Armenians and Jews — Poie Kopak the Place of Ex- 
ecution — Palaces of the Shah on Shimron — Population of Tehran — 
Different Races — Origin of Jewish Colony — The Armenians — Graves 
of Europeans — Guebers of Tehran — Tower of Silence — Importance 
of Tehran — Telegraph Corps — The Shah — Habits of Life — Character 
— Famine in Tehran — Relief — Mortality among the Jews. 

The principal buildings of Tehran are the palaces of 
the Shah and of the princes. The city was constructed 
at first without any plan. The bazaars and some of 
the caravansaries are high and built of burned brick. 
In some the arches are notable for their beauty of 
form, and for the tile work. 

The palaces of the Shah occupy a large tract of 
ground in the northern part of what was once the old 
city. They are now near the centre. The palace was 
at first a citadel, and was called, with all that pertained 
to it, the Ark, a name which it yet retains, though it 
be less appropriate now than in former times. The 
walls of the ark include the Harem, the King's Berune, 

102 



vi.] PALACE OF THE SUN. 103 

Shams al Amara, or palace of the sun, the throne 
room, offices of the war department, the government 
telegraph offices, and all the buildings used by the 
government, including the King's College. There are 
streets on the four sides of the wall inclosing these 
structures. 

On the eastern side of the ark there is an avenue 
leading from the gate Nasireyah, at the northern ex- 
tremity, southward to the bazaar. This gateway was 
covered with enameled tiles set in very beautiful com- 
binations. It has been torn down and a gateway of 
less beauty has been erected in its place. On either 
side of this avenue, is a row of trees and shrubs, and 
the street is paved with rough stone. Another avenue 
called Doulat, leads from a high gateway of that name, 
and parallel with the street Nasireyah, to the centre 
of the northern front of the palace grounds, and to the 
principal portal on the north. This portal is very 
elaborately finished with mirror glass set in plaster 
of Paris and stucco. A gateway similar to this has 
recently been made on the eastern side of the ark, in 
front of the palace of the sun. That on the south is 
less elaborate. 

The interior of this inclosure is divided into many 
courts occupied by buildings devoted to different pur- 
poses. In one court there is a throne room. The 
throne is of alabaster, and is little more than a square 
platform composed of slabs of alabaster resting on 
carved legs of the same material, and having a small 



104 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

flight of steps. The ceiling and walls are decorated 
with mirror glass and portraits of members of the 
royal family, the kings of the Kajars. There are two 
large pillars supporting the ceiling. Between these 
there is a large window opening upon the court. 
This court is on the south side of the building ; in it 
are paved walks, fountains, flowers and plane trees. 
The window is removed or open when the Shah is 
seated on the throne, so that he may be seen from 
every quarter of the court. The throne is raised 
about four feet from the floor of the room, and the 
floor is some three feet above the outer pavement. 

By custom the Shah ascends the throne on No 
Ruz, 1 and on the anniversary of his birth. On the 
former occasion he holds a reception for the foreign 
representatives ; this over, he walks from the interior 
palace to the throne. He is usually in court costume, 
the chief feature of which is the diamonds with which 
he and his sword are decorated. He sits down upon 
the throne, a rug being spread upon it and a pillow 
for this purpose. Here he smokes the kalyon and 
sips a sherbet, while a poem is being read by the poet 
laureate, and the salams of the courtiers are made. 
He remains but a few moments, and retires as he 
came. The throne room is an inferior and inexpensive 
structure, worthy of note on account of its uses and 
associations only. 

The Shams al Amara is a very high structure, and 
1 New Year. 



VI.] THE KING'S COLLEGE. 105 

contracted from the bottom to the top, so that the 
shape is odd. It reminds one of the architecture of 
ancient Egypt. The windows are filled with an open 
brick work, so that persons within can see what is 
passing without, while at the same time they are un- 
observed. This structure is used by the king exclu- 
sively. The exterior surface is covered with glazed 
tiles from the bottom to the top. The flag of Persia 
floats from a cupola of the roof. The offices of the 
War Department are on the western side of the ark. 
The arsenal contains weapons of European manufac- 
ture. The work done is chiefly repair of arms, casting 
cannon balls, and the manufacture of gun carriages 
and carts. It has been customary to employ a Euro- 
pean to superintend the work. 

The King's College is near the Shams al Amara. 
It consists of a series of stalls, which may be called 
rooms, arranged on the four sides of a court, and one 
story high. Students do not lodge in the building, 
but receive one meal a day in the college, two suits of 
clothes per annum, and an allowance in money of 
from fifteen to thirty tomans, according to the profi- 
ciency of the pupil in the studies of the course. The 
number of students in attendance is usually about two 
hundred and fifty. Several of the professors are Euro- 
peans, and the text-books are translations from the 
French. The studies pursued beside the primary 
branches, are advanced mathematics, languages, mili- 
tary tactics, and music. The languages studied are 



106 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS., [vi. 

Arabic, French, English and Russian. Engineering, 
telegraphy, and painting are also taught. All the 
students are subject to the orders of the government 
as to their future occupation. The student, may, how- 
ever, select the department of his service, with the 
approval of the raiese, or superintendent of the college. 

Young men of Jewish or Christian parents are not 
required to attend the religious services appointed for 
Mohammedans. But they are not exempt on Sabbath 
days from the usual duties of the class-room. 

The king's treasury is within the Ark, and the 
crown jewels are kept here. The most famous of the 
diamonds is that called Dareae Nur, or Sea of Light. 
It was obtained in India, and is said to be the largest 
first-class diamond in the world. It is thought, how- 
ever, to be somewhat inferior in quality to that of the 
Kuhe Nur, or Mountain of Light, now in possession 
of the British Crown. 

The king's stables are on the west of the palace 
grounds. Some of the horses are very fine animals 
of the Arab and Turkman breeds. The king's horses 
are known in the street by the fact that their tails are 
dyed a rose color. 

The takeah of the Shah is situated on the south 
side of the Ark. It is a large brick structure in the 
form of a rotunda. The walls, although several yards 
thick, are not thought to be sufficiently reliable to 
support the contemplated dome of brick. In place of 
this, a canvas is stretched over the top when the build- 



vi.] THE KING'S GARDENS. 107 

ing is used. The structure was erected for the pur- 
pose of the tazeah. This is the name given to the 
religious theatricals performed in commemoration of 
the Imams, in the month Moharam. 

On the north side of the old city, and within the 
new addition, are two gardens of the Shah. The 
more northern of the two is called Guleshan. It was 
constructed by order of Fattah Ale Shah. The struc- 
tures within were never remarkable for beauty or 
excellence. The principal edifice contains a room, 
which attracts attention by means of the paintings 
which represent the Shah holding a reception of for- 
eign representatives. On the west of this building 
there is a bath house. The corridors and rooms of 
this are below the surface of the ground, and are 
covered with domes of brick. Under the principal 
dome there is a fountain and pavement. A slide of 
smooth alabaster inclining at a sharp angle, and about 
fifteen feet long, terminates near the fountain. It was a 
favourite amusement of the Shah to slide down this 
alabaster pavement, and to see his wives slide down. 
The performance was attended with the danger of 
bruises on the pavement below. 

Quite all the gardens of the king and princes are 
constructed with the same essential features. There 
is a high gateway opening to the first court. The 
second court is entered by passing a guard-house, 
which was occupied by soldiers. In this court is a 
kulla frangee, or French hat. This name is given 



io8 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 



to a small summer house constructed of brick and 
elaborately finished, and containing one room. Be- 
yond this are the Berune and the Andarune. In 
some of the king's gardens there is no andarune, or 
harem. The garden Lala Zar is close by the gate 
Nasireyah, from which it is separated by the Tob Mai- 
don. The wall of sun-dried brick on the western side 
has been taken away and in its place there is now a 
high picket fence. The large plane trees and beds of 
flowers are the most attractive features of this garden. 
It serves now as a park. 

The Tob Maidon was in process of construction 
when we entered the city. It has been completed. 
The name signifies the place of the cannon. It is a 
parallelogram, extending in length from the eastern 
side of the gate Nasireyah to the western side of the 
gate Doulat, so as to include both of these gateways. 
There are two gates on the north side, opening into 
streets running north, and corresponding to the gates 
on the south side of the Maidon. There is also a gate 
at each end opening into its street. The sides of the 
Maidon are constructed of burned brick and consist 
of two stories of rooms. The lower rooms are 
occupied, each with one gun mounted on its carriage. 
The rooms above are for the artillerymen. There is a 
large reservoir of water in the centre of the Maidon. 
This public place, and the streets leading from it to 
the king's palace, are lighted with gas, and the palace 
is provided with a few electric lights. This arrange- 



vi.] MOSQUES OF TEHRAN. 109 

ment was introduced in 1879 and 1880. There is no 
arrangement for lighting any other part of the city. 
The gate Doulat consists of an arch over the street. 
With its second arch and dome, or roof, it has a height 
of about sixty feet from the pavement. The brick- 
work of both sides is of glazed tiles set in many 
designs and colours. 

The principal mosques of Tehran are the Maschide 
Shah, Maschide Madre Shah, Maschide Meyer. The 
king's son-in-law presides over the first. The madras- 
sahs, in connection with several of the mosques, are 
for the Mullahs, and may be called theological semi- 
naries. 

The several precincts of the city are distinguished 
by names : as Casveen gate, Shimron gate, Poie Chinar 
or the foot of the plane tree, Sar Chesmah, the head 
spring, and the like. The bazaars are constructed by 
rich men ; as are also the caravansaries. The stalls 
are rented. Some sections of the bazaars belong to 
mosques, to which they have been bequeathed. The 
bazaar proper consists of a row of rooms or stalls on 
either side of a road or passage, which is covered by a 
brick arch resting on the partition walls of the stalls. 
A stall is rarely more than ten by thirty feet in size. 
The end next the passage is provided with movable 
doors. On passing along the narrow alley separating 
the stalls, one may observe workmen sitting in the 
shops, and busy making hats, shoes, or other articles 
of trade. The different kinds of goods are usually 



no THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

kept separate. Some sections of the bazaar are given 
up wholly to the manufacture or to the sale of one 
kind of goods. The section called Cheet Frush is 
devoted wholly to the sale of calico, and Kand Frush 
to the sale of sugar, tea and coffee. There is quite a 
number of shops in which Persian carpenters manu- 
facture chairs, tables, lounges, and bedsteads. In the 
summer season and autumn the bazaars are well stocked 
with fruits and vegetables ; and there are certain mar- 
kets to which caravans resort with wood, hay, straw, 
and grain. A multitude of human beings pass to and 
fro through the arched way, and long trains of camels, 
horses, and donkeys, force a passage through the crowd, 
their burdens of wood, hay, or boxes, quite filling up 
the road, and compelling all pedestrians to halt, or to 
find refuge in the shops. 

Several thousand soldiers are kept in and about the 
city. They are drilled by European masters, employed 
by the Shah for this purpose. A very large maidon 
has been constructed for the drill. This is in the 
northern part of. the city. The barracks of some of 
the troops are in the vicinity of this maidon. In the 
summer season the soldiers are quartered in tents near 
the palace Kasr Kajar on the road to Shimron. 

The city is supplied with water by means of con- 
naughts, and cisterns such as I have described. The 
public baths are numerous, and all classes of the people 
resort to them. Christians and other people not Mo- 
hammedan, are not permitted to use the public bath. 



vi .] THE BRITISH LEG A TION. 1 1 1 

Every religious sect, therefore, must have its own bath. 
Europeans usually patronize that of the Armenians. 
The public baths are open to women on certain days 
of every week. 

Previous to 187 1, the British legation occupied 
buildings in the southern part of the city. In that 
year new premises were completed in the extreme 
northern quarter of the town, and were occupied by 
the legation. There were then very few buildings in 
this quarter; but now all the foreign legations are 
located here, and the district has been filled with the 
residences of Persians, many of whom are rich princes, 
and officers of the government. The British legation 
occupies a garden of about sixty acres. The premises 
consist of a large central building, and of four dwell- 
ing houses. The whole establishment, I am told, cost 
about one hundred and fifty thousand tomans. The 
premises of the Russian legation are nearer the centre 
of the city than those of any other foreign represen- 
tatives. The buildings are substantial and commodi- 
ous. In 1872, the legations were those of England, 
Russia, France and Turkey. Since that date, Holland, 
Austria, the United States and Prussia have sent rep- 
resentatives to the court of the Shah. All these lega- 
tions have summer residences on the southern slope 
of Mount Shimron. The French rent a garden in 
Tagreesh. The Turks own good grounds just below 
Tagreesh. The English have premises in the village 
of Gulhek, and the Russians in Zargendah. The 



H2 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

English and the Russian legations have each the con- 
trol of the village in which it is located. The British 
minister receives a salary of five thousand pounds and 
perquisites, and the Russian minister has very nearly 
as much. 

In the southeastern quarter of the city, near the 
gate Shah Abd al Azeem, there are some forty fam- 
ilies of Armenians, and near the Casveen gate, on the 
western side of the town, there are seventy more fam- 
ilies of this sect. The Jews are concentrated in the 
eastern part of the city. Many Mohammedans live in 
close proximity to the Jews and Armenians. 

In the southern part of the city the Poie Kopak, or 
foot of the pole, is distinguished as the place of public 
executions. Here the criminals are beheaded, and the 
heads exposed on the pole as soon as they are severed 
from the body. 

The Shah has several palaces on Shimron. The 
Kasr Kajar is about two miles northward of the Shim- 
ron gate. It is an old palace constructed by former 
kings of the Kajar dynasty. Sultanabad is some 
three miles beyond the Kasr, and Neavaran is the 
farthest up the mountain of all, and is at the foot of 
the most abrupt ascent of the mountain. The large 
building erected as a woolen factory, which in 1872 
was vacant, has been converted into a mint. It is near 
Sultanabad. The government powder mills are a 
short distance southeast of the mint. 

The population of Tehran in 1872, and in the ab- 



vi.] POPULATION OF TEHRAN. 113 

sence of any census was estimated to be about one 
hundred and twenty thousand souls. It is now 1 
reckoned at two hundred thousand. The Europeans 
are no more than about one hundred. They are em- 
ployed in the legations, telegraph offices, and in the 
service of the Shah. The Jews claimed three hundred 
houses, or one thousand five hundred souls ; they 
now 2 number not less than two thousand five hun- 
dred. The Armenians, in 1872, were about one thou- 
sand in the city, and three hundred in the villages of 
Shimron. This Jewish colony began with people 
from the village of Damavand, near the mountain of 
that name, where Jews were settled prior to the found- 
ing of Tehran. The Jews of Tehran have ten syna- 
gogues, all of which are no more than dismal, dirty 
rooms. They have also two or three schools, in which 
the boys are taught to read Hebrew only. The people 
of this colony are occupied with trade ; many are physi- 
cians, and quite all of them manufacture wine and arak. 
The Armenians of Tehran are merchants and arti- 
sans. They have one caravansary and two churches, 
and a school of twenty-five boys. All the pupils Were 
required to pay about one karan 3 a week as tuition. 
A few of these Armenians are from Russia. There 
are among the Persian Armenians several families of 
the nobility of Armenia. The representatives of these 
households have been permitted to retain their titles, 
and have been pensioned by the Shahs. The Arme- 

1 1884. 2 1884. 3 A karan equals about 20 cents. 



114 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

nian priests are subject to the Archbishop of Julfah. 
The church in the southeastern quarter, called Darvazah- 
Shah Abd al Azeem, is near the premises formerly occu- 
pied by the British legation, and the graves of quite a 
number of Europeans are within its walls. A tablet in 
the church marks the grave of a son of Walter Scott. 
A tablet in the wall of the court is in memory of Rev. 
William Glenn, translator of the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures into Persian. On completion of his work in As- 
trakan, Mr. Glenn resided with his son in Tehran. 

The Guebers of Tehran number an hundred and fifty 
souls. They are from Yezd and Kerman, and are for 
the most part merchants dealing in silks, calico, and 
carpets. A school for the children of Guebers is 
under the supervision of a member of the Parsee com- 
munity of Bombay. The object of this gentleman's 
residence here is the improvement of the political 
and material condition of the Guebers of Persia. 
The singular funeral rites of this people are prac- 
tised here, and their dead are exposed on a tower of 
silence, in a lonely spot on the mountain near the ruins 
of Ra, and overlooking the plain and city of Tehran. 
The white walls of the tower are visible from the plain. 

Excepting the small number of Europeans, and the 
non-Mohammedans, the population is wholly Mussul- 
man. The tendency is to disregard the race distinc- 
tions of Iranians and Turks, and the Persian language, 
though not the native tongue of the Kajars, is the lan- 
guage of the literature and law, and promises to retain 



VI.] IMPORTANCE OF TEHRAN. 115 

its supremacy throughout the country. Tehran is the 
most important city between Constantinople and the 
Indus, or the wall of China. It is now in telegraphic 
connection with the capital of every province. This 
facility of communication is doing much to strengthen 
the central government and to enlighten the people. 
The government of India owns a line of telegraph 
from Tehran to Bushire, and by way of the Persian 
Gulf to the Indus ; and it has in Tehran a superin- 
tendent and corps of telegraphists. The Indo-European 
Telegraph Company has here a corps of telegraphists 
and a superintendent. It controls a line from Tehran 
to the Aras and via Russia to London. 

The reigning Shah, Nasir id Deen, or the Support 
of Religion, succeeded his father, Mohammed Shah, 
on the 20th of October, 1848, and in the eighteenth 
year of his age. He is a person of prepossessing 
appearance ; of medium stature, and stout frame, 
though not fleshy. He wears a moustache, and the 
beard is shaven. As he appears in the street, he 
wears a black cloth coat and pants, and black brim- 
less hat of Astrakan or lamb skin. When riding or 
driving, he is usually attended by a large number of 
courtiers and soldiers. Shahteers walk by the side of 
the king a short distance from him. These men are 
distinguished by bright scarlet uniforms, and grotesque 
hats. The king is preceded and followed by horse- 
men bearing silver-headed and gold-headed maces. 
An escort of cavalry accompanies the cortege. 



n6 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

The wives of the Shah are taken in accord with the 
Mohammedan law. That law allows four covenanted 
wives called ahdah, and any 1 number of concubines 
called sekah. I asked the chief eunuch how many 
wives the king had ; to which he replied, " I do not 
know, but there may be four hundred." It might 
require some calculation to ascertain the number; for 
of the sekah, some are divorced, and some live at a 
distance from the palace. Some of the sekah are 
taken from considerations of policy merely, as a bond 
of alliance with some of the chiefs of the tribes, and 
with princes. The eldest son of the Shah, Zile Sul- 
tan, was born of a sekah wife, the daughter of a peas- 
ant. He is a man of great force and influence, and 
has the government of a large part of the kingdom. 
The second or heir to the throne, is the eldest son 
by a covenanted wife. The Naibe Sultan, agent of the 
king and third son, assists in the government of Teh- 
ran, and is now commander-in-chief of the army. 

A brother of the Shah is governor of Hamadan. 
Another brother is governor of Khorasan. Two 
cousins of the Shah, Farhaud Mirza and Feruz Mirza, 
reside in Tehran, and have held important positions in 
the government. The mother of the Shah died during 
her son's absence in Europe in 1873. She was held in 
great esteem by the Shah and his court. By the cus- 
tom of the succession, the mother of a Shah must be a 
covenanted wife and a princess. 

The departure of the king for his summer retreats 



vi.] THE SHAH— HABITS OF LIFE. 117 

is preceded by an exodus of the Harem. The proces- 
sion consists of many carriages and mounted men who 
serve as escort. The cortege is preceded by men with 
green sticks, who whip any persons standing in the 
way. The men run in advance and cry out, the 
u King's Harem ! Avert your eyes ! Turn your 
faces ! " The populace have learned that it is prudent 
not only to turn the face but to get out of the street. 
The ladies of the Harem are honoured with very ex- 
pressive titles conferred by the king, such as : Anesed 
Doulat, United to the Kingdom ; Shams al Doulat, the 
Sun of the Kingdom ; Aktar al Doulat, the Star of the 
Kingdom ; Ismat al Doulat, the Chastity of the King- 
dom; Shukur al Doulat, the Sweetness of the Kingdom. 
The king, during quite all the winter, resides in the 
ark in Tehran. He spends, usually, a few days of the 
winter in hunting in the mountains. In the summer 
season he goes from palace to palace, with the changes 
of the seasons. 

The royal bed chamber is carefully guarded. All 
the food eaten by the king must be prepared by one 
or two persons. The chief steward, or person who 
serves at the table, must first taste of every dish before 
giving it to the king, in proof that the food does not 
contain poison. The habits of the Shah have in them 
much that is both Oriental and Occidental. The 
palace is furnished with imported mirrors, chandeliers, 
and other articles. The royal table is adorned with 
silver and China ware. The Shah, however, does not 



Ii8 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vi. 

refuse to have his divan spread upon the floor, nor 
does he hesitate to taste his food with his fingers in 
lieu of fork and spoon. The Shah is a patron of 
learning, and has written several books. He has a 
minister of science and a censor of the press. There 
is a printing press owned by the government, and 
one or two newspapers are published in Persian. 
Nasir id Deen Shah is by far the mildest and best 
disposed prince that has ruled in Persia. He is also 
the most progressive. He has done more for the 
improvement of the country than any other Shah. 
But he has made no radical changes and reforms, and 
there is no indication that he contemplates making 
any. 

The famine prevailed in Tehran during the winter 
and spring of 1 87 1-2. It was closely followed by the 
cholera in 1871. Many thousand refugees from other 
districts fled to the capital, hoping to obtain relief 
from the king's bounty. Some aid was given by 
Europeans, and at last by the authorities. The famish- 
ing were employed to construct roads, and to repair 
the moat about the city. The price of wheat was at 
one time forty tomans, or near eighty dollars for about 
seven hundred pounds weight. The Jews of Tehran 
received funds from their co-religionists in London ; 
yet before this assistance was given, many perished 
here as elsewhere. Three hundred Jews died of the 
famine in Tehran. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Departure for Hamadan — March by Moonlight — Altitude of the Coun- 
try — Khanabad Ruins — Kushak — Pass of the Karaghan Mountains 
— Bevaron — Altitude of the Pass — Damavand — Journey to the Arme- 
nian Villages of Karaghan — Condition of the Armenians — Armenian 
Priest — Origin of the Colony — From Lar to Nobaron — Pass of the 
Yebel Islam — From Bevaron to Nobaron — The Village of Nobaron — 
Zara — River — Malagird — Victims of Famine — Alvand — Village of 
Shevarin — Situation of Hamadan — Altitude of the Plain and of 
Alvand — Ancient Cities — Dejoces — Ecbatana — Construction of the 
City — Ancient Splendour — Cyrus — Identity of Achmetha and Ecbatana 
— Destruction of the City by Timour — Antiquities — Water Courses — 
Mausoleum of Avicinna — Population — Reduction by Famine and 
Cholera — Protestants — Antiquity of the Jewish Colony — The Shrine 
of Esther and Mordecai — Condition of the Armenians — Trade of 
Hamadan — Telegraph — From Hamadan to Oroomiah — Kamkase 
and Chibooklee — Altitude of the Country — Situation of Senah — De- 
parture from Senah — Kurdish Villages — Souj Bolak — Sulduz — Coun- 
try between Sulduz and Ravanduz — Midnight Manzil — Return to 
Seir — Tour of Mr. Stocking to Mosul and Death of Mrs. Stocking — 
Departure from Oroomiah for Tehran. 

My next object, after seeing Tehran, was to visit 
Hamadan. The latter city is forty-eight farasangs, or 
about two hundred miles southwest of the capital. 
The hot season was now at hand. Many of the 
Europeans had left Tehran for the summer retreats 
of Shimron, five and six miles from the city. As 
nothing was to be gained by the delay of caravan 

119 



120 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

travel, I sold my horses and hired those belonging to 
the chapar. 

The word chapar is from a verb meaning to gallop. 
It denotes the Persian post The horses are let at the 
rate of one karan a farasang, and may be ridden on a 
gallop. The chapar khanahs, or post houses, are con- 
structed by the government. They are let to con- 
tractors who agree to furnish horses as required by 
the authorities, and for the use of the government mes- 
sengers, at a stipulated rate. The horses may be let 
to other than agents of the Shah, on presentation of an 
order from the proper authority. A post boy, called 
a shagird, accompanies the horses, and when the stage 
is completed drives them back to the post house 
whence they were taken. The length of a stage is 
usually from four to six farasangs, and with fair horses 
it is usual to ride two farasangs in one hour. By con- 
tinuous riding and frequent change of horses a person 
may accomplish a long distance in the course of a few 
days. 

The post houses are constructed on one plan. A 
square is enclosed by a wall some ten or fifteen feet 
high. On the inside of this on three sides stables are 
made for horses and rooms for grain. On the fourth 
side or front there is a gateway, on either side of 
which are rooms for the accommodation of travellers. 
There is usually a chamber above the gateway which 
is called a bala khanah. These rooms are kept by 
the chapar bashee, or keeper of the post house, and 



vii.} CHAPAR RIDING. 121 

are in a most ruinous condition in a short time after 
their construction. 

The post horses are in a worse state than the rooms, 
for it is customary to purchase vicious and worthless 
animals for this service. One or two fairly good 
horses are kept at each station for the accommodation 
of distinguished or favoured guests. In time these 
brutes become hardened to the service, and are then 
called by Persians, poktah (that is, cooked), a term com- 
monly applied to animals and men who by experience 
and hardship have been inured to severe labour and 
prepared for hard service. The horses are by no 
means sure-footed. They frequently fall and break 
their necks. I have seen a chapar horse, however, 
fall and turn a complete somersault, and come up 
instantly without the least harm to himself, his rider at 
the instant of the fall having been thrown over the 
horse's head and entirely out of the way. Chapar 
riding is attended with some dangers as are other 
modes of travel. 

The chapar horses, which are usually in bad con- 
dition, were now the survivors of the late famine, and 
gave good evidence of having barely survived. Hav- 
ing obtained from H. B. M. Charge d'affaires a request 
to the Persian Minister of Foreign Affairs, that I be 
allowed to hire post horses, and having received the 
order from the Persian Minister, and having sent the 
order to the Chapar Bashee, and having given a tip to 
that functionary, we mounted the horses and left 



122 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

Tehran by the Hamadan gate at ten o'clock at night 
on the 26th of June. 

The days were so hot that it was necessary to travel 
by night over the plain of Tehran. In the moonlight 
we could distinguish the villages near which the road 
passed, and these with the small water courses gave 
evidence of the presence of cultivated lands. We 
entered the village of Rabadkareem at the earliest 
dawn. Obtaining fresh horses and a light breakfast, 
we began the second stage with the rising sun. We 
were told that no fresh water could be obtained during 
this stage, and so filled our water jugs from the stream 
of clear water which flows near the village ; but the 
jugs were broken before we had gone a farasang, and 
we learned the advantage to be gained in the use of 
leathern bottles. 

The road led over a gradual ascent having an'altitude 
of from five thousand to five thousand five hundred 
feet. About two farasangs from Rabadkareem we 
passed an old caravansary now deserted. Half a 
farasang beyond it is a small stream and a deep valley, 
that of the Shore River. The descent to the valley is 
between hillocks of clay and gravel, and in a tortuous 
course. The old caravansaiy and the vicinity of it 
are famous as the rendezvous of banditti. 

There is no other house than this in a distance of 
twenty-five miles, and there is not a tree or shrub to 
be seen in all the way. When we had completed about 
two-thirds of the stage we came to a deep and broad 



Vii.] KUSHAK. 123 

valley. A small stream of brackish water issued from 
a connaught, the only water supply of the villages on 
its course. About midday we reached the chapar 
khanah called Khanabad and obtained a jug of fresh 
water by sending a man about three miles for it. As 
the people of the village have learned to use the brack- 
ish water they do not feel the need of anything better. 
A kxv rods northeast of this station there is a mound 
and in and about it are heavy stone columns and 
square blocks which appear to have been bases and 
capitals. These remains cannot be referred to any 
modern structure and must have belonged to some 
very ancient building as a fire or idolatrous temple. 

Remaining over night here, we started in the early 
morning for Kushak a distance of six farasangs. At 
this village, also, only brackish water could be ob- 
tained. Of the sixty families that composed this village 
two years ago, only fourteen remained. The famine 
had dispersed or destroyed the forty-six households. 
From Kushak there is an ascent of the Karaghan 
mountains by the pass called Azad Dah. We had but 
little faith that the horses would hold out to make the 
ascent, but by exercising care and much patience, we 
succeeded in crossing the highest and most rugged 
part of the journey, and reached the chapar khanah 
of Bevaron soon after nightfall. The altitude of the 
summit of the pass is about seven thousand feet above 
the sea. In many places between Tehran and this pass 
the cone of Damavand is plainly visible. There are 



124 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

many large villages in the valley on the north of the 
Karaghan range. On the northern slope and some five 
farasangs from Bevaron there is a settlement of five 
villages of Armenians. 

It will be in place to give here a brief account of 
these Armenians as they appeared on a visit made to 
the settlement by me, in the autumn of 1878. The 
principal villages of the five are Lar and Tchenaktche. 
The whole number of Armenians is about two hun- 
dred. They are engaged in agriculture, and are very 
poor. One-half hour's ride from Tchenaktche, up the 
mountain, is the upper village of that name. It is 
perched on a crag of the mountain and is inhabited 
by Armenians only. The other villages have Mo- 
hammedan as well as Armenian inhabitants. The 
difficulties experienced here from cold and snow are 
compensated by a large spring of water which issues 
from a ledge of rock abounding in fossils, and sends 
a torrent of the precious fluid to the plain below, suffi- 
cient to irrigate the fields of five villages. 

An Armenian priest resides here and has the spirit- 
ual and much of the temporal oversight of the settle- 
ment. The priesthood has been in his family during 
seven generations. I was more interested in a manu- 
script copy of the Four Gospels in Armenian with notes 
in Persian which he exhibited than I was in his geneal- 
ogy. The volume was very old and well illuminated. He 
kept it carefully wrapped in a cloth, which he unfolded 
with great reverence, as if removing the pall from a 



vii.] ARMENIANS— CUSTOMS. 125 

dead body. The book was reverently kissed by the 
priest as it was removed from the cloth, and again as 
it was wrapped up. Kissing the holy book is one 
prominent feature of the religious service of the Ar- 
menian Church. The church of sun-dried brick was 
unfinished, yet partly in ruin. A more miserable and 
desolate cluster of dwellings can hardly be found or 
imagined than the mud hovels which compose these 
villages. Scarce a tree or plant is to be seen in the 
vicinity, for all the water is needed to supply the arable 
lands. 

The quiet of the Sabbath was broken by the arrival 
in the lower village of a company of tax gatherers. 
They were soldiers fully armed, and prepared to seize 
whatever the people were reluctant to give. No great 
regard for the Sabbath seemed to be entertained by the 
Armenians. A company of women spent the day in 
washing wheat and spreading it upon a hill in the centre 
of the town. The priest went off to a neighbouring vil- 
lage to complain to the governor of the unjust taxation. 
The people of this settlement claim to be a colony 
from Ispahan, who, after years of change from place to 
place, at last settled down in this region, attracted 
hither by the copious supply of water from the spring. 
They suffered a great deal during the famine, and a 
large number removed in a body to Russia, but being 
dissatisfied there, returned to this place. 

The distance from Lar to Nobaron is about five 
farasangs. The road passes near the peak called Yebel 



126 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

Islam. I am told that from the summit of this pass 
both Mount Damavand and Alvand may be seen. 
The clouds which intervened prevented me from seeing 
either mountain. From the top of the pass there is 
an extended view of the country on the south, and of 
the valley of the stream which flows past Nobaron. 

Having passed the greater part of the night at Be- 
varon, we pressed on to Nobaron, said to be four fara- 
sangs distant. The latter town is the principal village 
between Tehran and Hamadan. It has a population of 
about fifteen hundred souls, all of whom are Moham- 
medans. It has a chapar khanah and a telegraph office. 
A large connaught pours its waters upon the surface 
at the foot of the hill on which the village stands. 
Large shoals of fish gather at the head of the water 
course. They are consecrated to the saint, and I was 
told that it would be considered a grave offense to 
catch or kill any of them. 

Obtaining fresh horses at this station, we started at 
eight o'clock in the morning for a ride of four fara- 
sangs to the next station. The road crosses a river 
about three miles west of the town. This stream we 
were told flows to near Koom. Our road now passed 
over a hilly country. The clay appeared to be of a 
bluish colour, and underneath the surface were bluish 
gray stone filled with fossil shells. The region passed 
in this stage is utterly sterile and waterless. We 
reached the chapar khanah about midday ; but, al- 



vii.] ZARA—MALAGIRD. 127 

though the country is above five thousand feet above 
the level of the ocean, the heat of the day was intense. 
The post house was situated in a village of three 
houses, supplied with salt water. The nearest villages 
to be seen were about two farasangs distant on the 
west. At four o'clock in the afternoon we resumed 
our journey and rode to the village of Zara, making 
the stage of the day about fifty miles, a very short ride 
considering the changes of horses, and effort made. 
But the horses were too poor to make any good speed. 
Being detained at Zara for horses we remained until 
the rising of the moon. There is a fine stream of 
water near this village, which flows in a southeasterly 
course in a rapid current. We entered Malagird at 
sunrise, and changing our horses rode on toward 
Hamadan. We passed but few villages. As far as to 
Malagird, and several miles beyond, the road passes 
over a level plain. Thence it crosses low mountains 
and hills, which separate the plain of Malagird from 
that of Hamadan. In one village the skulls and bones 
of human beings lay in the ruins of deserted huts. 
The people had died of famine. In passing a village 
near Shevarin, we met men who were bearing the 
dead bodies of some of the victims of the famine. 

The mountain Alvand is a conspicuous object It 
is not, however, so imposing as Damavand and Sa- 
hund. The plain which lies on the north of Alvand 
and at its base is apparently fertile, and a few villages 
are to be seen in the neighbourhood of Hamadan. 



128 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

The village of Shevarin is the most populous on the 
near plain, and is about three miles from Hamadan. 
It has a population of ninety families of Armenians, 
and a church and priest. As I rode through the 
streets I observed the dead body of a man lying in 
the dry water course. He had died of the famine. 
On entering Hamadan I noticed the dead body of a 
child lying in the street. 

The city of Hamadan is situated at the foot of the 
mountain Alvand, and on the northern side of that 
mountain at its base, from which it is distant about 
three miles. The site of the city has an elevation above 
the surface of the Atlantic ocean of six thousand feet. 
The summit of Alvand is at least four thousand feet above 
the city. The antiquity of the cities situated in former 
times on this plain is an interesting subject of inquiry. 
The opinion seems to prevail with those person^ who 
have examined the subject, that Hamadan occupies 
the site of the most ancient capital of Media. It is 
believed that an important city flourished here before 
the time of Dejoces, the reputed founder of the 
Median kingdom. That prince rebuilt and ornamented 
the city then existing, and made it the capital of his 
dominions. The place was known to the Greeks by 
the name Ecbatana. 

The description of this ancient capital as given by 
Herodotus appears to correspond very nearly with 
the position of Hamadan. The chief features of the 
construction were the terraces, which are thought to 



Vfi.] EC BAT ANA. 129 

have been the model of the hanging gardens of 
Babylon. The citadel was surrounded by seven walls 
or palisades, each one differing from another in the 
material of construction, height and color. The inner- 
most wall was plated with gold and silver. 

The city attained its greatest splendour under Cyrus. 
But that prince did not confine his court to one 
place. In his reign, if not later, Susa became a capi- 
tal and a rival of Ecbatana. On the defeat of Darius 
by Alexander, the city passed to the possession of the 
Greeks, and afterward to the Romans. The Arsacidae 
made Selucia their capital. The Parthians built Ctesi- 
phon, and the Sassanians, the successors of the Par- 
thians, united Selucia and Ctesiphon in Al Maidan. 

During these changes Ecbatana preserved very 
much of its former pre-eminence. As late as the 
third century A. d., Tiridates of Armenia ornamented 
Tauris in imitation of the ancient capital of Media. 
The conjecture has been entertained that there were 
two cities called Ecbatana in Media. The first at the 
foot of Alvand, the other in the province of Atropa- 
tene in the Koflen Kuh, at a place now called Takte 
Sulaimon. The word Ecbatana is understood to mean 
a coffer or treasure-house, and hence might be applied 
to any place in which the royal treasures and records 
were kept. The decree of Cyrus ordering the re- 
building of the temple in Jerusalem was found at 
u Achmetha 1 in the palace that is in the province of 

1 Book of Ezra, vi. 2. 
9 



130 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

the Medes." The word Achmetha is also understood 
to mean a treasure house, and is believed to be iden- 
tical with Ecbatana. 

The name Hamadan seems to have come from the 
Arab tribe of that name, whose princes ruled over 
Mesopotamia and adjacent regions in the decline of 
the power of the Abasides A. d. 933-1055. The 
city was taken by Timour near the close of the 
fourteenth century. The first Shah of the Kajar 
dynasty completed the ruin of whatever remained of 
former improvements and greatness. On the east of 
the present city there is a high hill, which was for- 
tified. It may have been the site of a citadel. In 
the streets of the city are to be seen the fragments 
of columns and polished capitals. 

Old coins are to be found in the largest quantities 
in from half a mile to a mile or more south of the 
city ; in what are now cultivated fields. The land is 
leased in small parcels by the authorities, with the 
privilege of excavating and washing the earth for 
coins. The pieces most commonly found are Alex- 
andrian, Arsacidae, and Sassanian. There is good 
reason to believe that the ancient palace and treasury 
were situated on a hill just west of the coin fields, 
whence it is probable the coins have been carried by 
the rains of many centuries. Near this point there is 
an immense stone hewn to represent a couching lion. 
It is the only object of the kind to be seen in that 
vicinity. 



Vii.] HAM AD AN. 131 

In and near the city there are subterranean water 
courses constructed of stone, and evidently of ancient 
construction. On the rocks of Alvand there are in- 
scriptions. I rode well up the mountain side to see 
these. They are called Namal, and consist of two 
tablets in the wedge-shaped character. It is re- 
ported by natives that there are many subterranean 
channels and water courses. I went to the tomb of 
the distinguished physician, Avicinna. The structure 
is the usual tower-shaped building of the old mau- 
soleums, and has two stories, with a dome over the 
top of the tower. An opening in the side of the crypt 
revealed a small dark passage which was said to con- 
nect with other passages ; but which may have been the 
tomb of the person for whom the building was erected. 
The structure receives no attention and is falling to ruin. 
The population of Hamadan has been reduced very 
much by the famine and cholera, and as much by the 
flight of the people, probably, as by death from the 
other causes. It was conjectured that at this time, the 
city did not contain more than ten or fifteen thousand 
souls. There are thirty families of Armenians. The 
Jews claim twenty-five hundred to three thousand 
souls. The balance of the population is Mohammedan. 
The condition of the Jews and Armenians in this 
city differs in no essentials from that of their co-re- 
ligionists in other places of Persia. Their chief occu- 
pation is the manufacture of wine and arak. Many 
of the Jews are physicians, and all, both Armenians 



132 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

and Jews, are traders. The Armenians of Shevarin 
are occupied with agriculture. 

The Jews drive a profitable business in what is 
called a Falgeer Khanah. It is a place in which 
prayers are repeated, and verses from the Old Testa- 
ment and from the Talmud and other books, are writ- 
ten for the recovery of the sick and the cure of steril- 
ity. The scripture passages are written on bits of 
parchment or paper, and are worn as amulets to cure 
disease, to keep off evil spirits, and to give good 
fortune. 

The Armenians perceived that this enterprise of the 
Jews was a paying concern, and they therefore fol- 
lowed the example, by starting a similar institution 
which they called a kashish khanah, or priest's 
house. If the Old Testament were so efficacious, 
the New Testament might be thought even more effect- 
ual in healing. The prayers were written by an Ar- 
menian, and sold for a price. The house was largely 
patronized. The patrons were chiefly Mohammedans 
and females. The revenue of the house became large, 
and the Mohammedan authorities put a heavy tax 
upon it. They claimed that the practices resorted to 
were a species of witchcraft, which they consider to 
be sinful ; but as there was a chance to make money 
out of it, they levied a tax instead of suppressing the 
concern. 

In early years the Armenian colony numbered one 
hundred families, and the tax of the whole community 



vii.] SHRINE OF ESTHER AND MORDECAI. 133 

was assessed at two hundred tomans. In the course 
of years the colony had been reduced to thirty families, 
yet the same assessment was made. The Armenians 
becoming Protestants, were persuaded to abandon the 
prayer-house, but the authorities still demanded the 
tax of former years. It was not until several years 
later than my visit, that the kashish khanah was 
finally suppressed and the tax remitted. The heavy 
tax was the ostensible excuse for opening the prayer- 
house, but it appears to have been an occasion for in- 
creasing the tax. 

The Jewish colony here is of very ancient origin. 
Distinct mention is made in the Apocryphal books of 
the Old Testament, of Jews in this city and Raghes. 
The shrine of Esther and Mordecai is near the cen- 
tre of the city. The two graves are side by side and 
covered by zerahs of carved wood. Upon these there 
is an inscription in Hebrew. The tombs are under a 
dome of burned and red brick. The whole building 
is of most humble construction, and the brick are 
evidently not of the most ancient size and make. 
When Tamour took the city, the building then stand- 
ing was destroyed. The present structure was built at 
a later date. 

At this time there was one Armenian priest in Ha- 
madan. The priesthood had descended from father to 
son during several generations. The Nestorian preacher 
of the Protestants had returned to Oroomiah, and the 
priest yet performed the service of the Armenian Church 



134 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vii. 

in the old church building composed of sun- dried 'brick. 
A young Armenian taught a school in the interests of 
the Protestants. Many of this people were favourably 
disposed to the evangelical sentiments, though as yet 
no church had been organized. 

The suffering occasioned by the famine in the city 
had been very great. The Jews had received aid from 
their co-religionists in London. The Armenians had 
been aided by funds sent from London and from the 
United States, so that none of them died of hunger. 
The great majority of the sufferers were Mohammed- 
ans, so numerous as to make any very efficient help by 
foreigners quite impossible. The famine had now ceased, 
as compared with the devastation occasioned in previous 
months, yet the number of daily deaths from this cause 
was from twenty-five to thirty. The number of bodies 
baptized for burial during the winter, was reported to 
be twenty-five thousand, which seems incredible. If 
the report be discounted by one-half it will probably be 
less than the fact, which it is impossible to ascertain. 
Women and children were now seen by me, in the 
street gathering the bones of dead animals, which they 
crushed for the marrow to be extracted. They were 
searching the refuse and sweepings of the shops for a 
crumb which might possibly be found. In an open 
space near the stream which flows through the town, 
the sick and famishing lay in scores. 

The city has no important manufactories. Its trade 
is chiefly local. The leather made here is considered 



vii.] TRADE OF HAMADAN. 135 

the best in Persia, and some earthenware manufactured 
in this place is taken to other cities. There is here a 
telegraph office of the Persian government, and of the 
line extending from Tehran to the Turkish border. 
This line was the first constructed in Persia, and was 
built by the British. The owners transferred their 
interest to the Shah on the construction of the line 
from the Aras ; and the Government of India con- 
structed a line from Tehran to the Persian Gulf at 
Bushire. The line to Hamadan was in bad condition. 
In many places the wires lay upon the ground. In 
other places they were carelessly hung upon a nail 
driven into the wooden poles. Yet such is the dry- 
ness of the air and of the ground, that messages could 
be sent over the lines. 

From Hamadan to Oroomiah there are two routes ; 
one by way of Senah, the capital of the province of 
Ardalan ; the other by Bejar. The distance is reck- 
oned at from fifteen to eighteen days' travel by caravan. 
There is a chapar from Hamadan to Senah. This 
fact determined our route. The distance is some four 
days' travel. 

I left Hamadan on the 6th of July, having first 
made two starts with a caravan ; but the second time 
the chavidar objected to the loads, and taking them 
from the horses said that he must have extra pay, and 
started for the bazaar, expecting that we would come 
to terms, and submit to the extortion. As post-horses 
could be obtained at once, we lost no time in making 



136 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vil. 

ready, and suffered the chavidar to depart in his delusive 
hope. Our route crossed the plain of Hamadan to the 
northwest. Although the altitude of the plain is not 
less than six thousand feet above the sea, yet the heat 
of the day was intense, so that we rode but six fara- 
sangs, and halted for the night at Kamkase. Our 
second night was passed with the Kurds of Chibook- 
lee. We entered Senah near noon of the third day. 

The entire country between Hamadan and Senah is 
very high, much of it being no less than six thousand 
feet above the sea level. We passed two ranges, the 
summits of which were six thousand five hundred, 
and seven thousand five hundred feet above the sea. 
Senah is situated in an open basin in the eastern 
slope of the mountains of Kurdistan. The city is 
said by the prince governor to contain twenty-five 
thousand people. But I should say that it could not 
contain half that number. The Jews have three hun- 
dred houses and the Papal Nestorians eighty families. 
A Roman Catholic mission has flourished a long time 
here, conducted, I believe, by natives of the country. 

The governor of the province, Farhaud Mirza, re- 
sided here. He is a cousin of the Shah. The reputa- 
tion of this man in the province was such as to impart 
confidence, if Persian testimony may be received. It 
was said that the governor had suppressed all lawless- 
ness. He had recently taken off the heads of several 
highwaymen, and a man might now openly bear on 
his head a tray of gold coins from Hamadan to Senah. 



vii.] SENAH. 137 

At the hour appointed I went to the palace of the 
governor. The buildings appeared to me to be very 
old and in a shabby condition. The prince is a man 
of medium stature and thin features. He wore a 
Cashmere gown and slippers, and received me in the 
porch of the Berune. Here there were two chairs, 
and only two. One was occupied by the prince. I 
was invited to take the other. He professed great 
friendship for the English people and for the Ameri- 
cans in Oroomiah. His mirza had received instruction 
in the English language from some of the missionaries 
in that city. The governor, by the aid of this man, 
had composed a Persian-English dictionary which had 
been printed at a Persian press. A copy of the book 
was sent to me, with the salams of the prince, on the 
day of my departure. 

The governor offered an escort of soldiers which I 
declined ; but as he seemed to be urgent and said that 
he could not be responsible for my safety unless I took 
the escort, I said that I would be thankful for the 
services of one soldier. He volunteered to give me a 
letter to the governor of Sakis, and an order for an 
escort through the Kurdish country. The only dis- 
courtesy which I received from the natives in all my 
journey, was during the few days in which this man 
accompanied us. We frequently sent him on to obtain 
a lodging-place and to procure food; but wherever we 
went the people were disposed to resist his demands, 
which were uniformly made in an insolent and arbitrary 



138 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

manner. The Kurds have a strong antipathy toward 
the Persian soldier, for the reason, I suppose, that the 
soldiers take whatever they desire without giving any 
compensation. The soldier attributed the insolence 
of the people to the fact that we had but one soldier ; 
were there several of us, he said, the Kurds would be 
polite enough. 

There is no post north of Senah. I therefore pur- 
chased horses here in order to travel by marches. 
Our route lay across the skirt of the mountains to 
Sakis and Souj Bolak. The distance from Senah to 
Sakis is twenty-four farasangs. There is little or no 
change in the general aspect of the country until one 
reaches the vicinity of Lake Oroomiah. The road 
crosses a succession of mountains and ravines with 
little variation. The ridges have an elevation of from 
five thousand to six thousand five hundred feet above 
the sea. 

We left Senah an hour before sunset. After we 
had ridden some two hours the soldier said that we 
must be near the station, and that he would go on and 
secure a lodging-place for us. It was now night, but 
a clear moonlight disclosed the road. The soldier soon 
passed out of sight. The roughness of the way pre- 
vented fast riding. In going up a steep hill one of the 
loads fell off the horse, and the two men were detained 
with it in re-loading. I rode on slowly in advance. 
I was confident the men were following. The march 
was kept up in this order for some time. We now 



vii.] DEPARTURE FROM SENAH. 139 

heard a shout which we answered, supposing that the 
soldier had found the village, and was returning to us. 
In descending a ravine my horse started and some 
object passed rapidly across my track, but the light 
was not clear enough to enable one to distinguish an 
object at any considerable distance. We heard another 
shout, which was answered by all our party, and all 
hurried on, especially the men in the rear, who seemed 
to understand the situation. We soon came upon the 
escort. He was holding a man whom all the men fell 
to beating. The guard had been riding in advance, 
when two men sprang up in the way ; one seized the 
bridle of his horse, and the other attempted to knock 
him off with a club. The blow was parried by the 
soldier. His shout and our answer caused one of the 
men to flee. The other was immediately seized by the 
guard, and held until we came up. All the men 
began to beat the supposed highwayman, when the 
story had been briefly told by the soldier, and they 
might have killed or greatly injured him had I not 
interposed. The man was now conducted to the 
station. It was near midnight when we entered the 
town, a cluster of hovels inhabited by Kurds. The 
highwayman was committed to the kathoda of the 
village to be conducted to the governor at Senah. 

The soldier was very anxious that I should report 
his statements as facts, assuring me that if I would do 
so, the man would certainly be punished by the loss 
of a hand or of an eye. But as I had no confidence 



Ho THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

in the soldier, I would not run the risk of doing 
a wroncr to the man. 

I shall not attempt any particular account of the 
villages and country between Senah and Oroomiah. 
Sakis and Souj Bolak are the only towns of importance, 
and these are no more than large villages. Quite all 
the other places are small clusters of wretched hovels, 
inhabited in common by human beings, flocks of sheep 
and herds of cattle; for the flocks share with the Kurds, 
at night, the security of the village. Many of the 
people, at this season, live in tents, and some of the 
villages are quite deserted. The inhabitants are Kurds. 
Quite all the men are armed at all times with a belt 
of pistols and knives, and there is a marked contrast 
between the fierce aspect of these people, and the 
courteous bearing of the Persian peasants. 

Sakis is a town of one thousand houses. Of these 
fifty families are Jews, a few are Afghans, and the 
greater part of the people are Kurds. Having a letter 
to the governor I rode to his palace. He is a Kurd, 
and'a man, apparently, about sixty years of age. He 
was courteous, and when I left, gave me a letter to the 
Kurdish Sheik in the town of Saru, requiring him to 
furnish a guard. At Saru we found a refreshing repast 
in readiness for us, of broiled chicken, and the best 
food I had eaten since leaving Tehran. Some twenty 
Kurds gathered about us, all of them being armed after 
the fashion of the country. The four sons of the Sheik 
came to meet us. They wore long and flowing robes 



vii.] SOUJ BOLAK. 141 

of white silk, and were cleanly and fair faced. On 
leaving Saru a Kurd mounted on a splendid horse, 
and armed with a spear and shield, led the way to the 
next station. 

Souj Bolak is a much larger town than Sakis. The 
houses paying taxes were said to be one thousand. 
The Jews here number seventy families. We obtained 
rooms in the house of a Jew. He lived in the best 
house in the town, for which luxury, however, he had 
been compelled to pay twice. When he had completed 
the building, the governor sent word to him that a 
person who was able to construct so good a house 
must have plenty of money, and therefore must pay 
the governor for it, or lose his property. In order to 
avoid trouble with this minister of justice, the Jew sent 
to the governor a present of three hundred tomans, a 
sum equivalent to about six hundred dollars. 

Leaving Souj Bolak we crossed the very fertile plain 
of Sulduz. The people were now busy with the har- 
vest. From the Sulduz to the plain of the Ravanduz 
River, the road runs near the shore of Lake Oroomiah. 
A good part of the way is over a barren and dreary 
region, utterly without habitation, except the tents of 
a few migratory Kurds. We rode the greater part of 
the day and night. As we came after midnight to the 
vicinity of the first villages of the Ravanduz, we turned 
aside, and lay down under some trees by the sea, the 
waters of which now shone as a mirror, in the bright 
moonlight. We preferred the scene without to the 



142 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

close and dreary room of a mud hovel. On the 18th 
of July we entered the gate of the mission premises at 
Seir, and completed the journey of two hundred and 
sixty-six farasangs, or ten hundred and sixty-four 
miles. By my record of distances there is less than a 
farasang's difference in the distance to Tehran by way 
of Tabriz and by way of Hamadan. It is not probable, 
however, that the reckoning of any two travellers 
would be the same here ; since they would be depend- 
ent upon the report of natives as to the length of the 
stages if reckoned in farasangs ; and if the reckoning 
were made in hours, there might be a discrepancy 
occasioned by different rates of travel. 

In this journey I had my first experience with the 
sand-fly, which infests all parts of Persia. It is a gnat 
no larger than the head of a pin ; of a green and white 
color, turning to black as the season advances. It is 
so small that only the finest screens will give protec- 
tion from it. The hottest season seems to be most 
congenial to this insect, and it shuns a cool current of 
air. The bite of these insects is especially troublesome 
to foreigners who have not been inoculated with the 
virus, as the bite is followed with festers. I had my 
share of the attentions of these pests. The pendent 
position of the feet in riding, and the irritation, had 
aggravated the festers on my ankles, so that for several 
weeks I was unable to ride or walk. 

A few weeks after my return, Mr. Stocking, with his 
wife and Miss Cochrane, left Oroomiah on a tour in 



vii.] DEPARTURE FOR TEHRAN. 143 

the mountains of Kurdistan. Their journey forms a 
sad episode in the history of the American Mission. 
From the cool regions of the mountains the party 
descended to the burning plain of Mosul in the month 
of September. Mrs. Stocking fell ill. In the course 
of three days it was found to be necessary to retreat 
to the mountains. Mr. Stocking was prostrated by 
sunstroke. On the third day from Mosul, Mrs. Stock- 
ing was too feeble to proceed. Their tent was pitched 
near Jeseriah. Here Mrs. Stocking died, on Sabbath 
morning, September 2 2d. The tent was removed and 
the interment made where she had expired. The other 
members of the party were detained by illness, and 
returned to Oroomiah in October. 

I left Oroomiah with my family for Tehran, on the 
second day of November, going by way of Tabriz and 
the route I have described. In this long journey by 
marches of twenty-seven days, no very serious diffi- 
culties were encountered, and no events occurred more 
alarming than the appearance of a large leopard cross- 
ing our road and trotting leisurely over the plain ; a 
snowstorm on a mountain-pass, and frequent threats of 
the chavidars to kill the Christian Persians who served 
us by the way. The man who led the horse of the 
taktravan was most obnoxious to the muleteer. The 
oft-repeated threat finally ended in one of the chavidars 
drawing a long knife and making a rush for the man ; 
but an unintentional gesture of one of my hands toward 
a revolver which was fastened to the bow of my saddle 



144 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vn. 

was seriously interpreted by the chavidar, and he in- 
stantly threw up both hands, crying for mercy, and 
promised never to repeat the threat. The remainder 
of the journey was made in peace between Mussul- 
mans and Christians. Leaving the chapar route at 
Meanjub we took the higher road to Kend, and entered 
Tehran by the Asp Davan gate on the 29th of Novem- 
ber, 1872, the lady of the party thus having the ques- 
tionable honour of being the first American woman to 
enter the capital of Persia. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Journey to Ispahan — General Features of the Country — Kanaragird — 
City of Koom — The Mausoleum of Fatimah — Sinsin — Kashan — Plain 
of Ispahan — Entrance to the City — Ride toward Julfah — The Zandah 
Rud — Antiquity of Ispahan — Persian History — Population — Origin 
of the Colony of Jews — Ruins — Bridges — Avenues — Maidone Shah — 
Madrassahe Shah — Chehar Bogh — Chehil Sutun — Shaking Minarets — 
The River — Julfah — Character of the Colony — Relation to the Sufee 
Kings — The Ecclesiastical Establishment — The Archbishop — Diocese 
and Revenues — Roman Catholic Mission — Famine — Aid to Sufferers 
— Mr. Bruce — His Mission — Business of the Armenians — Trade of 
Ispahan — The Governor — The Sheik al Islam — Favourable Situation 
— Ruined State of Ispahan and Julfah. 

In the month of April, and in company with Mr. 

Coan of Oroomiah, I went by chapar from Tehran to 

Ispahan. The latter city is south of the former, and 

distant from it seventy-one farasangs, or about two 

hundred and eighty-four miles. The caravan track 

here, as in other places of Persia, is the only highway. 

The telegraph wires of the government of India's line 

follow this route. 

The highway crosses the plain of Tehran toward the 

south, and runs along the western side of the great 

desert of Khorasan. It makes many detours to avoid 

the depths of the desert, and crosses many mountain 
10 i 45 



146 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vin. 

ridges which lie between the principal ranges of the 
Elburz and Zagros. The general features of the coun- 
try along this route differ in no. essential aspect from 
what is to be seen in other parts of Persia, except the 
stretches of desert on the east appear to be more 
extended than those desert plains which are seen in 
other places. Barren plain and mountain succeed one 
another in monotonous alternation. On the west, 
range after range of mountains, separated often by wide 
valleys where neither the habitation of men nor the 
shadow of a tree is to be seen. On the east the desert 
is apparently without limit. Between the mountain 
ridges which run into it are large ponds, and small 
lakes formed by the streams of water flowing from the 
mountains in the winter and spring seasons. The 
greater part of these ponds are quite dry in the sum- 
mer time. The ground once occupied by them is then 
covered with a white saline deposit. In the play of 
the mirage they have the aspect of lakes bordered 
with reeds and trees. Crossing the plain of Tehran 
for a distance of four farasangs, the road ascends a 
ridge whence we could see the general course of the 
highway in a good part of the journey. 

Between Tehran and Ispahan there are four small 
rivers. The Karaj is crossed near the village of Kanar- 
agird about seven farasangs from Tehran. The Kirche 
Rud rises near Sultaneah. It is crossed by a good 
bridge about four miles southwest of Kanaragird. The 
Koom River and the Shore unite near the bridge called 



vin.] KANARAGIRD. 147 

Poole Daloik, sixteen miles northeastward of the city 
of Koom. These streams were now broad torrents 
pouring their waters into the desert. 

Kanaramrd is a small village of huts, and Hose 
Sultan, or the Reservoir of the King, as the name sig- 
nifies, is a caravansary and cistern built for the purpose 
of supplying travellers with a place of rest and with a 
supply of fresh water. The second stage from Tehran 
is over a plateau, and from Kanaragird to Hose Sultan.. 
Four miles beyond the bridge of the Kirche Rud we 
entered the valley called the Valley of the Angel of 
Death, Malak al Mote. It is so named from the 
absence of verdure, and the appearance of desolation 
which it has ; but this aspect is no more a character- 
istic of this place than it is of many other regions of 
this country. The valley is believed by the super- 
stitious natives to be the haunt of ghouls and satyrs. 
It is related that the satyrs beset the traveller by night 
and slay him in the way. On my expressing doubt 
of the truthfulness of these legends to the chapar sha- 
gird, and in answer to my question, he said that the 
satyrs are creatures having the body and feet of men 
with the head of birds and beasts. They surround the 
traveller and begin to lick his feet with their tongue. 
If the spell is not broken they devour him. The king, 
he said, once desired to know the truth if the valley 
were really haunted. He therefore sent many persons 
to sleep in this place ; but no one dared to remain, for 
they heard such sounds and saw such forms as caused 



148 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

them to flee in haste. At last a mullah offered to 
sleep in the valley. He saw many thousands of satyrs, 
for the air was full of them ; but as he was an holy 
man they did him no harm. 

We rode seven farasangs from Hose Sultan to Poole 
Dal oik, the Bridge of the Barber. This is the name 
given to a caravansary and chapar khanah near the 
bridge of the barber. Thence the road follows the 
margin of the Koom. The word koom means sand. 
The city of that name is near one hundred miles from 
Tehran. It is a sacred city, owing to the shrines erected 
here. De Anville supposes Koom to occupy the site 
of the ancient Choana of Ptolemy. There was a city 
here at the time of the conquest of the country by the 
armies of the first Khalafahs. Very little is known, 
however, of the early history of the place. The author 
of Bahr al Ansab records that twenty-three Sayeds who 
fled to Koom were here put to death by the enemies 
of the house of Ale. The particular sacredness of the 
place is derived from the remains of Fatimah, the sister 
of Imam Reza. The popular tradition is that this lady 
was on her journey to the city of Tus, whither she was 
going to visit Reza. On arriving at Koom she per- 
ceived the city to be in mourning, and on inquiring 
after the cause, learned that the popular demonstration 
was occasioned by the death of Reza. The sad tidings 
caused her to delay in Koom, where she sickened and 
died of grief. A mausoleum was early constructed 
over her grave, but it was a very humble building. 



viii.] CITY OF KOOM. 149 

By the order of Shah Abas the structure was enlarged 
and ornamented. The Sufee kings created the fame 
and wealth of the shrine. The sword of Abas hangs 
in the mosque. Sufee the First and Abas the Second 
were here buried. Fattah Ale Shah and Mohammed 
Shah are interred within the sacred inclosure ; also the 
wife of the latter, who died in 1873. To this queen is 
attributed the honour of having caused the dome of the 
mosque of Fatimah to be covered with gold plate. 
The dead are brought from the country adjacent to be 
interred in the hallowed ground of the city. Koom is 
second in sanctity to the city of Mashhad only. The 
population of the city is estimated to be no more 
than ten thousand souls. The place was in former 
years much more populous than now. The wide 
area covered with ruins of houses on the east of the 
present site bears testimony to the decline of the city. 
The governor of the district resides in Koom. There 
is also a superintendent of the shrines and a large num- 
ber of mullahs. We saw very many pilgrims going to 
the shrine. The greater part of these were women. 

Passangoon is a small village where post-horses are 
kept. It is four farasangs southward from Koom. 
Sin Sin, seven farasangs beyond this, is the name of a 
chapar khanah near the plain of Kashan. Kashan is 
seventeen farasangs distant from Koom. It is situ- 
ated on a low and flat plain. The altitude of the 
city is about two thousand feet above the surface of 
the ocean. It is one of the cities mentioned as having 



150 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

furnished its contingent at the battle of Kadesah, a.d. 
636. Since the Mohammedan conquest it has been an 
important place, and at all times has been noted for 
the heat of its climate, for the size and venom of its 
black scorpions, the manufacture of silk, copperware, 
earthenware, and porcelain. It is said to be as large a 
city as Shiraz, though less in ruins. The founding of 
the city has, without reason, been ascribed to Zobaide, 
wife of Haroun al Rasheed. The potteries of this city 
were noted for a sort of faience and glazed ware 
which received the name kashee. The term was used 
in time, to denote all similar ware, whether made in 
Kashan or in other places. The fact appears to be 
that the wares were made in several villages near 
Kashan, of which Gulpaigon is one of the most noted. 

The Jews of Kashan number three hundred houses. 
The palace of Feen is noted as the place where Mirza 
Tagee, the chief minister of the Shah, was confined 
and put to death. The prince was murdered in the 
bath. 

From Kashan the chapar road ascends the Koh 
Rud pass. The mountain is a spur extending from 
the main range into the desert a short distance. The 
more precipitous ascent may be avoided by a more 
circuitous route. The pass is the only high and diffi- 
cult ascent between Tehran and Ispahan. After riding 
four farasangs beyond Kashan we came to a reservoir 
of water, built for the water supply of the city. It is 
formed by the construction of a dam across a deep 



Viii.] RIDE TOWARD JULFAH. 151 

gorge in the mountain. The chapar station of Koh 
Rud is within about three or four miles of the summit. 
The ascent to the village was long and tedious. The 
darkness and the cold of the night may have made 
the journey to seem longer than it might have 
appeared to be in the day. The only room to be 
had in the chapar khanah was one well filled with 
wheat. The two other rooms had been taken posses- 
sion of by the governor of Ispahan. He caused one 
of the rooms to be vacated. As the chimney was de- 
fective, the smoke of the wood-fire filled the room, and 
our only resource was to sit on rugs underneath the 
denser clouds of smoke. The bright light of the fire 
gleamed through the dense columns of smoke as a 
winter sun shines through a London fog. 

The summit of the pass is about seven thousand 
feet above the sea. Deep banks of snow were yet in 
the highway. The distance from Kashan to Ispahan 
is twenty-nine farasangs. Bedek, Moorchakhare, and 
Gaz, are each six farasangs apart, and are miserable 
villages. The second is noted for the battle fought 
in its vicinity between the army of Nadir Shah and 
the forces of Ashraf the Afghan. From the Koh Rud 
the road descends to the plain of Ispahan. We rode 
near five farasangs over a level plain before reaching 
the city. No cultivation was visible until within eight 
miles of the city gate. There is every indication that 
in former times the entire plain was well tilled. 

It was late at night when we rode up to the gate. 



152 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

The gate was locked, and the key had been taken 
away; but the chapar shagird conducted us to a 
place where the wall was broken down, and we had 
no great difficulty in finding our way to the post 
house. Leaving the chapar khanah, we passed through 
many ruined bazaars and came to the Zandah Rud, 
which we crossed on a massive bridge, constructed of 
brick and stone. The river was now a broad and furi- 
ous torrent, having been swollen by the spring floods 
so that the main channel was full. The chapar sha- 
gird conducted us by the usual road which follows 
the margin of the river. We came to a place where 
the water covered the road. The shagird was about 
to ride into the water, but, as the current was strong, 
and the water appeared to be' deep, I recalled him. 
He said that he knew no other road. We therefore 
returned to the post house, where we remained during 
the balance of the night In the morning we experi- 
enced no difficulty in finding the now frequented road 
to Julfah, and we learned that the road taken by us 
on the previous night was impassable, being covered 
in places by water from ten to fifteen feet deep. 

Much has been written by Persian writers concern- 
ing the antiquity of Ispahan. The founding of the 
city is, by them, referred to the fabulous eras of 
Hushang, Tahmoors and Gemsheed. Kai Kobad, of 
the Kaianian dynasty, or that of Cyrus, is said to 
have made the place his capital. He is believed, by 
some, to have been the same as the Dejoces of the 



vin.] ISPAHAN— ANTIQUITY OF 153 

Greek writers. The building of Ispahan is believed 
to have preceded the construction of Ecbatana. In 
the enlargement and building by Kai Kobad > four vil- 
lages were united in one city. The city was known 
to the Greeks by the name Ispadana. 

The Emperor Heracleus marched as far as to Ispa- 
han. The city is said to have made a brave resist- 
ance against the Saracens. It figured as the seat of 
royalty in the reign of Al Buyah, who seized the 
place a. d. 933. It was made the capital of Shah 
Abas, and continued to be the capital city during the 
reign of the Sufee Shahs. It was in the time of the 
kings of this dynasty that the city became most known 
in modern times. 

The population of the city in the times of the 
Sufees has been variously stated at from five hundred 
thousand to one million souls. Chardin, who entered 
Ispahan two hundred years ago, 1 says that it contained 
twenty-nine thousand four hundred and sixty-nine 
houses. It could not have possessed, therefore, 
more than about one hundred and fifty thousand souls 
at that time. Olivier reckons the population to be 
two hundred thousand souls, and the number of houses 
to be twenty thousand, supposing ten souls to be in 
every house, which is an estimate far too large. At 
this time, 2 there are no more than fifty thousand souls. 
In this number is included three hundred families of 
Jews and a few Guebers. Persian writers relate that 

1 1673. 2 1874. 



T54 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

the first colony of Jews was brought hither in the time 
of the Babylonian captivity, and that a part of the city 
occupied by them was called Judea. 

The ruins adjacent to the present city are very ex- 
tensive. The most important objects are the works of 
the Sufee kings. There are five bridges over the 
Zandah Rud. They are constructed of stone and 
burned brick. The best built is that called the Kurpe 
Shah, or bridge of the king. It has a paved carriage 
way thirty feet wide, and a walk on either side for 
footmen, which is covered with an arched roof of 
brick. The city was, and is now, on the northern 
bank of the river. There were, however, many gar- 
dens on the south side of the Zandah Rud. Two wide 
avenues extend through a great part of the city. Each 
avenue runs to a bridge : on both sides of the avenue 
there are rows of plane trees. A small canal curbed 
with stone, was constructed in the middle of the street. 
In this there are basins of granite, into which the 
water fell and through which it flows. 

The Maidon Shah or Square of the King is an 
oblong court surrounded on all sides by rows of shops 
two stories high. On one side is the garden of the 
governor. One side is close to the bazaar, from which 
it is separated by a colonnade. 

The Madrassahe Shah, or King's College, has a fine 
front of tiles, on one of the avenues. Cloisters are 
constructed on the four sides of the court in two 
stories. The rooms were once filled with students, 



viii.] THE ZAND AH RUD. 155 

but they have now of a long time been well-nigh de- 
serted. Chehar Bogh is the name given to four gar- 
dens constructed by Shah Abas. One section of these 
called Chehil Sutun or forty pillars, is a summer house 
with a porch having twenty pillars. There is a tank 
of water in front in which the twenty pillars are re- 
flected making the forty columns denoted by the name. 
The twenty pillars are of brick and wood, resting upon 
granite cut in the form of lions. The ceiling is set 
with mirror glass cut in small bits and fastened with 
plaster. The interior is said to have contained the 
throne. On the walls there are many pictures. The 
upper part of this building is occupied by artists and 
artizans who manufacture cards and kalamdans. 

In another part of the city there is a mosque with 
two minarets so constructed that a person standing 
between the two can by a slight motion of his feet 
cause the minarets to vibrate. 

The river is believed to take the name Zandah Rud, 
meaning living river, from the excellence of its water, 
or from the real or supposed fact that the water is 
adapted to the purposes of agriculture. In the sum- 
mer season the water is well-nigh consumed. At 
other seasons it flows to the desert where it forms an 
extended morass. The once celebrated suburb called 
Julfah is situated on the south side of the river and 
about two miles from the city. The name was taken 
from the Armenian town of Julfah, in Georgia, in- 
habited by Armenians, who were removed to this 



156 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

place by Shah Abas in a.d. 1603. The Shah allotted 
lands to the Armenians and the place was called New 
Julfah. The first colony was increased by subsequent 
importation of captives from Armenia, until it contained 
sixty thousand souls. 

Of the twelve churches as first constructed, three 
are claimed by the Romanists to have belonged to the 
Papal Armenians. Seven or eight of these churches 
are now standing in fair condition, yet going to ruin. 
The cathedral is the principal structure. Its interior 
walls are profusely ornamented with paintings. The 
best preserved churches are the Cathedral, St. Stephens 
and St. John. These bear the dates 1104, 1140 and 
1 144 of the Armenian era. 1 

This colony is reported to have been formed of the 
wealthier class of Armenians. It received much patron- 
age from Shah Abas and his successors; but has 
steadily declined since the last of the Sufee kings. It 
suffered much during the inroad of the Afghans and 
in subsequent times. The colony is now reduced to 
about twenty-five hundred souls, the greater part of 
whom are very poor. The ecclesiastical establishment 
consists of a bishop, archbishop, and an uncertain and 
small number of suffragans. There is a monastery 
and nunnery conducted on a small scale. The arch- 
bishop comprehends in his diocese the Armenians 
of India and of Eastern Persia. He is subject to 
the Catholikos of Etchmiadzin. The present arch- 
X A. D. 1655, 1691, 1695. 



viil] ISPAHAN AND JULFAH— FAMINE. 157 

bishop is a courteous gentleman about thirty-five 
years of age. He derives an uncertain revenue from 
the impoverished Armenians of Central and Eastern 
Persia, which is supplemented by funds from India. 
There is in Julfah one priest of the Roman Catholic So- 
ciety of Lazarists. He claimed that his church was rep- 
resented in Ispahan early in the fifteenth century. The 
present mission was begun in 1839. It has one church, 
a nunnery, a small school, and about sixty adherents. 
The people of Ispahan and Julfah suffered very 
much from the famine. Many were supported by 
Mr. Bruce, a missionary of the Church Missionary 
Society. He received from England, for the aid of 
the sufferers, about sixteen thousand pounds sterling. 
He fed or aided with these funds about seven thousand 
people. Of these who were assisted two thousand 
were Armenians. The remainder were Mohammedans 
of Ispahan and other places. I learned from Mr. 
Bruce that the Church Missionary Society had not 
authorized the establishment of a mission in Persia ; 
he was here at his own choice to make a revision 
of the New Testament in Persian. He had charge of 
a school for boys and carried on mission work. The 
school contained about one hundred and fifty boys, 
including some thirty orphans. The teachers were 
Armenians of Julfah, and two of them were priests. 
This mission begun by Mr. Bruce was adopted by his 
society in 1875. There are now 1 two male mission- 

1 1884. 



158 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [vm. 

aries, and one female missionary, a chapel, an organ- 
ized church, and two schools. 

The Armenians of Julfah are engaged in trade and 
in the manufacture of wine and arak. The people of 
Ispahan are for the most part Mohammedans, and have 
a local trade. The namads of Ispahan, and vessels 
of copper and brass manufactured here, are in demand 
in other cities. Zile Sultan, the eldest son of the Shah, 
is governor of the province, and resides here. The 
Sheik al Islam has an actual or assumed authority over 
the religious orders of the city ; but has no power or 
influence over the mullahs of other cities. The plain 
of Ispahan has an elevation of about four thousand 
feet above the sea. The fertility of the plain, the 
supply of water from the Zandah Rud, and a propitious 
climate combine to make this a favourable location for 
the capital of the country. But these conditions are 
not the most powerful causes of prosperity in Persia. 

At present Ispahan impresses one more by the 
extent of its ruins, than by any other feature. Many 
bazaars constructed in the best manner have not an 
occupant. Mosques and schools are deserted. A 
multitude of the humbler dwellings are without inhab- 
itant and falling to earth. Ispahan is the relic of a 
powerful and fallen dynasty of kings, and Julfah is dis- 
tinguished as the memorial of a captive and perishing 
church. 



CHAPTER IX. 

From Tehran to the Black Sea — Routes — Ride to Casveen — Ride to 
Mazarah — Chapar and Caravan — The Hazan Pass — From Hazan to 
Poie Chinar — Poie Chinar — The Shah Rud, or King River — Treeless 
and Forest Regions — Furious Winds — The Safeed Rud — Olive Groves 
— Rustumabad — Rice fields and Booths — From Rustumabad to 
Kudum — The People — Their Dwellings — Herds of Cattle — Ride to 
Rasht — Country between Rasht and Pere Bazaar — Navigation to 
Anzile — The Mord Aub — Situation of Anzile — Persian Ships and 
Russian Control — Mail Steamers — The Mechyle — Use of Petroleum 
for Fuel — Astara and Lankoran — Natural Harbour — Islands — Environs 
of Baku — Customs — Appearance — Population and Importance — Pub- 
lic Buildings — Languages — Cape Apsheran — Petroleum Wells — Fire 
Temple — Transportation of Oil — Water of Baku — Russian Post — 
Country between Baku and Shirwan — Shirwan and Shamakha — Earth- 
quakes — Sargis — The sect of the Molakans — Routes to Tiflis — De- 
scent from the Caucasus — Rivers — Aug Tchai — River Cyrus or Kur — 
Gangah — Gessan — Situation of Tiflis — Altitude and Climate — Anti- 
quity — Population — Emporium — From Tiflis to Pote — Climate of Pote, 
and Mortality — Batoum — Russian Customs — Railway to Baku — De- 
cline of Tiflis — People of the Caucasus — Return to Tehran. 

I shall give in this chapter an account of a journey 
made by me to the Caspian and Black Seas in the 
autumn of 1875. If a part of the route pursued lies 
in territory now subject to Russia, yet it should be 
remembered that the same country was in former 
times subject to the Shahs, and the history of it 

i59 



160 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

is intimately connected with the history of Persia. 
At this time a very large number of the people in- 
habiting Georgia are of the sect of the Twelve Imams. 
It is estimated that of the four million people inhabit- 
ing the eight thousand square miles of territory called 
the Caucasus, two million two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand souls are Mohammedans. 

There are two principal routes from Tehran to the 
Caspian Sea. One by way of Casveen and the Hazan 
Pass, the other by Damavand and Barfrush to Mash- 
hade Sar. The latter is much the shorter, requiring 
but six days' travel. It is not, however, the most fre- 
quented route. The objections to it are the great height 
of the pass, the want of post houses and stations, and 
the lack of accommodations in case of detention, at 
Mashhade Sar. It is thought also that one is more 
likely to suffer from malaria if detained at this port 
than he would be at Rasht or Anzile. 

I left Tehran on the 29th of September, intending 
to go to Rasht and Anzile, thence to Baku by steamer, 
and from that place to Tiflis by Russian post. A 
Persian servant went with me to Anzile. I had made 
a start on the previous evening, but the chapar horses 
were not brought in time to reach the gate before it 
was closed for the night. We found the gate locked 
and the key had been carried to the custodian of the 
city. It was now too late to obtain an order from 
the authorities for the opening of the gate. On 
similar occasions in time previous I had experienced 



ix.] RIDE TO CAS VEEN. 161 

no great difficulty in passing the piles of earth which 
may be called a wall, at a point where the flood had 
carried the earth away; but after remaining open 
during several years, the breach had recently been 
repaired through the revived vigilance of the Sadr 
Azam. It was now impossible to get out of the city 
at any point of which I had knowledge. The natives 
usually have some opening well concealed, by which 
one can pass for a consideration. I had no doubt a 
gap could be found, but as I did not feel disposed to 
investigate after nine o'clock at night, I returned to my 
house for the night. 

At the earliest dawn we passed the gate, but owing 
to the bad condition of the horses we did not reach 
Casveen until nine o'clock at night. The last stage 
of four farasangs was made after dark and by the light 
of a lantern which one of the men carried. Two of 
the horses ridden by me came down, but without doing 
any harm. Soon after ten o'clock we left Casveen for 
a ride to Mazarah,five farasangs distant. We reached 
the station soon after midnight, having ridden, since 
morning, twenty-nine farasangs, or one hundred and 
sixteen miles. The last stage was made with a trotting 
horse, which would travel with no other gait. It may 
seem to most persons to be quite unnecessary to make 
so much haste and experience so much inconveni- 
ence, or torture the poor horses by fast riding ; but 
wearisome as chapar riding may be, the slow pro- 
gress of a caravan is more tiresome, and prolongs the 
ii 



1 62 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

misery of riding, and of lodging in Persian hovels. 
As to the torture of the horses, it is to be said that as 
they make but one stage, it may be a question which 
has the greater torture, the rider or the horse. 

At Mazarah no horse could be had, and we were 
obliged to delay until one should come in. We there- 
fore remained until morning. I was then obliged to 
take Hobson's choice and ride a horse which had come 
in from a journey of nine farasangs. I rode over the 
same stage, making a trip for him of continuous travel 
of near seventy-two miles. From Mazarah the road 
ascends the Hazan pass of the Elburz range. The 
summit is a little less than six thousand feet above the 
sea. The village of Hazan is near a farasang from 
the highest point, and on the northern slope. It con- 
tains an old caravansary and a few hovels. From 
Hazan to Poie Chinar the distance is three farasangs, 
and the descent is continuous and precipitous. The 
descent may be inferred from the fact that the val- 
ley of the Shah Rud, a short distance beyond Poie 
Chinar, is fifteen hundred feet above the sea, and we 
descend from an altitude of five thousand feet in the 
course of about fourteen miles. The road is, however, 
much more precipitous in some parts of the way than 
in other portions. 

At Poie Chinar there was an old caravansary, too 
filthy to occupy. The nearest post house was at 
Manjeel, four farasangs distant. The name Poie Chinar 
means the foot of the plane tree. If the trees were 



ix.] MANJEEL. 163 

ever here they have perished. In later years a chapar 
khanah has been constructed here, and the passage of 
the mountain is made with less fatigue, since fresh 
horses may usually be had at this post house. Some 
four miles from Poie Chinar, the road crosses the 
Shah Rud River by a brick bridge. This river rises 
on the northern slope of Shimron and flows nearly 
due west, passing within a mile of the station Poie 
Chinar. The road hence to Manjeel follows in part 
the margin of the river and the valley. Near Manjeel 
this stream unites with the Kizil Uzen flowing from 
the west The united waters flow thence to the Cas- 
pian Sea under the name Safeed Rud. The Shah Rud 
at the bridge is about fiTty feet wide, and has a shallow 
and rapid current. All the southern slope of the 
Elburz as far as to Hazan resembles the regions of the 
interior by being treeless and barren. But a change 
in the aspect of the country is apparent in the descent 
from the summit of the pass. The northern slope has 
a few low shrubs. The northern side of the valley of 
the Shah Rud has some groves of fir, and the tops of 
the second range of mountains are covered with dense 
forests. 

Manjeel is a village of about one hundred houses. 
It is situated near the confluence of the two rivers 
which I have here described. It is, however, so far up 
the side of the mountain as to be beyond the floods 
which sometimes cover the lowest lands of the valley. 
It is near fifteen hundred feet above the level of the 



1 64 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

sea. The only telegraph office between Rasht and 
Casveen is at this place. The post house in this village 
is the best one north of Casveen. Before we reached 
Manjeel, and some two miles from that town, we met 
two companies of men drawing wagons loaded with 
castings for the king's shops in Tehran. One of the 
companies consisted of fourteen men. They had con- 
sumed the entire day in hauling the load two miles, 
and had been three months in coming from Rasht to 
this place, a distance of about sixty miles. The road 
is impassable for wagons. 

About two miles north of Manjeel the Safeed Rud 
passes by a very narrow gorge, through the coast 
range of the Elburz. The narrowest point of the 
chasm is here where the river enters the mountain. 
There is, at this point, a bridge of brick, and the road 
crosses to the western side of the river, and follows 
that bank of the stream. The length of the chasm by 
the roadway is about forty miles. It opens a narrow 
channel to the lowlands which border the Caspian 
Sea. 

Near sunset a furious gale began to blow from the 
north, which continued all night. This chasm is noted 
for these violent winds. They continue during certain 
hours of quite every day. Their force is least at early 
dawn and increases until midnight. It is unsafe to 
attempt crossing the bridge at some hours of the day. 
Mules have sometimes been blown from the bridge, 
and it is no uncommon occurrence that the water of 



ix.] RUSTUMABAD—RICE FIELDS. 165 

the river should be blown over the top of the bridge, 
which is some thirty feet above the river bed. The 
chasm opens a way for the winds which are pent up 
on the southern Caspian. The mountains on either 
hand of the gorge rise to a height of six and eight 
thousand feet above the sea. The Safeed Rud is 
nearly dry in the late summer and autumn. The 
channel is not more than from fifty to eighty feet 
wide in the greater part of the way. The river 
appears to have much greater width and depth below 
Rustumabad. The roadway from Manjeel to a point 
some three farasangs below Rastumabad runs on the 
margin of the chasm. In the greater part of the way 
the passage has been cut out of the rocks, but in a very 
rough manner. No skill has been shown in the con- 
struction of the road. In many places it passes along 
the brink of a rock several hundred feet above the 
river, and is so narrow that caravans pass one another 
with difficulty. The mules and horses are sometimes 
crowded over the height with their burdens, and are 
killed in the fall. Olive trees grow at Manjeel, but 
are more abundant below that station. The trees 
thrive on these mountains, and furnish the principal 
production and article of commerce in this region. 
Oranges grow here and in the provinces of Mazanda- 
ran and Gelan. 

There is a caravansary, chapar khanah, and a small 
village at Rustumabad. Rice is grown in the valley. 
In the rice swamps booths are erected. In these the 



166 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

owners of the rice fields keep watch by night or by day. 
Every booth was made with four poles stuck in the wet 
ground; a floor is placed about ten feet above the water, 
and above this a roof of straw thatching. In this place 
the watcher is safe from the attack of the wild hogs 
and other animals, and is able to protect his property. 
The aspect of the mountains is in many places attract- 
ive. Little patches of cultivated land, or green meadow, 
separate dense groves of evergreens and olives. The 
distance from Rustumabad to the next chapar khanah 
is five farasangs. The forests become more dense as 
one approaches the lowlands, and there is an increasing 
variety of trees and foliage. 

Near the Imam Zadah, the road descends the last 
of the mountains to the lowland. From this point to 
Rasht, a distance of near thirty miles, there is a graded 
road in fair condition, though very tortuous. The for- 
ests here are called jungle by the natives. Oak, wal- 
nut, and beech trees abound. The box and walnut are 
valuable for export. The forests are frequented by 
many birds of gay plumage, and by tigers, leopards, 
bears, and wild boars. The sky, during the greater 
part of the year, is clouded, and the air is so humid 
that the foliage is constantly wet as with dew, and the 
clothing of the traveller gathers dampness as he passes 
along the road on a rainless day. 

The people inhabiting this region are distinguished 
from the people of the interior by race and language. 
They represent the ancient Gelae ; from them is de- 



ix.J RASHT— POPULATION. 167 

rived the name of the province Gelan. The people 
are called Gelee by the Persians. They are of lithe 
and spare form and sallow complexion. They live in 
rude huts constructed of poles, and having the sides 
and roof thatched with straw. These dwellings are 
hidden in the thickets and dense forests, and their 
presence is known only by the narrow pathway of the 
jungle. Numerous herds of fat cattle roam at large, 
never needing stable or feed, for the grass and foliage 
are not destroyed by frost or cold. The people find 
employment in growing rice, making silk and char- 
coal, raising olives and oranges, and in cutting timber. 
These products are exchanged for the wheat and fruit 
of the interior, and for the cotton goods brought from 
Russia. We rode from Kudum to Rasht in a drench- 
ing rain, which saturated every article of clothing in 
spite of gossamer overcoats. Rasht presents a striking 
contrast to the cities of the interior. The latter are 
situated on broad plains or on the treeless slopes of 
mountains. Rasht is concealed by the foliage of a 
forest. Quite all the houses are constructed of burned 
and red brick, and are two stones high. The roofs are 
square or pointed, and covered with tiles. They are 
made with broad eaves to protect the walls from rain 
and moisture. 

The city contains, as is supposed, about twenty-five 
thousand people, all of whom are Mohammedans, ex- 
cept some three hundred Armenians, and half a score 
of Europeans. There is here a British and a Russian 



1 68 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [rx. 

consulate. The governor of Gelan resides in Rasht. 
There is a telegraph line from this place to Tehran, 
but it is of little use between Rasht and Manjeel, 
owing to the humidity of the air and the condition 
of the wires. The bazaars are supplied with fruits, 
Russian sugar, and cotton goods from Europe. Some 
attention is given to the raising of tobacco, and it has 
been thought that the climate is favourable to the 
growth of the tea plant. The sugar cane grows luxu- 
riantly in some districts. In 1876-7, the plague pre- 
vailed in this city with great virulence. It is estimated 
that as many as four thousand people fell victims to the 
scourge. 

I have written on a previous page of the route 
between Anzile and Rasht. The country between 
Rasht and Pere Bazaar was originally a morass and 
jungle, wellnigh impassable. A turnpike has been 
constructed. The distance is about six miles. The 
only building at Pere Bazaar is a custom house. This 
is the place of landing for the small row and sail boats 
coming from Anzile. A small creek flows by the 
bazaar. On the waters of this little stream a num- 
ber of sail and row boats were moored, waiting for 
passengers and freight. The boatmen were very 
noisy, and demanded exorbitant rates. They gradu- 
ally reduced their demands to one-half the price first 
asked. 

I secured a seat in one of the boats and watched the 
novel process of navigation. The boatmen carried a 



ix.] ANZILE— SURROUNDINGS. 169 

line to the shore and towed the craft down the creek 
until it was impossible for them to proceed further by 
land. They then got into the boat and took up their 
oars. In half an hour's time we entered the waters of 
the Mord Aub. Passing the mouth of the creek, the 
shores of which are marked by reeds and a lamp post, 
we came upon an open bay, which required three hours' 
time to cross to Anzile. When the wind blows from 
the land the water of this bay is fresh, but a heavy wind 
from the north drives the salt water of the Caspian Sea 
into the bay. The breadth of the Mord Aub may be 
twelve miles, and the greatest length twenty-five miles. 
The water is shallow except in front of Anzile. The 
outlet of this bay is a channel from three to five hun- 
dred feet wide, and between two narrow peninsulas 
separating the Mord Aub from the Caspian. 

Anzile is on the western side of this outlet. The 
peninsula upon which it is situated is less than a 
quarter of a mile wide, and but a few feet above the 
surface of the sea. A bar extends across the channel 
and prevents large vessels from entering the bay. The 
greatest depth of water on the bar is from six to eight 
feet. The Caspian Sea is very deep a few miles from 
the shore, having a depth of three to five hundred 
fathoms. The winds from the north often drive a 
heavy sea upon the coast. The deep sea rolling upon 
the bar, prevents, for a time, all entrance to the bay by 
steamers and sailing vessels. The small village of Anzile 
contains a custom house and bazaar. With the ex- 



170 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

ception of a half dozen families of Armenians, the people 
are Mohammedans. The king's palace is a conspicuous 
object. It is situated on the point of the peninsula and 
in the village. The grounds are suffering from the en- 
croachment of the sea, and the palaces will be under- 
mined in time, if efficient means are not adopted for 
their security. 

A small side-wheeled steamer, belonging to the 
Shah, was anchored near the eastern shore of the 
outlet. This is the only steamer owned by the Shah, 
and afloat on the Caspian. A few ships are owned 
and run by Persians, but these are so few that it may 
be said that quite all the shipping is owned by Russians, 
and Russia has entire control of this sea. Steamers 
of fair size and accommodation touch at all the ports 
twice each week in summer, and once every month in 
winter. The passenger and mail steamers of the Cau- 
casus and Mercury Line ply between Astrakan and 
Ashurada. The steamer of this company was due on 
Friday evening. It was not certain at what hour she 
would arrive. The small boats, therefore, were moored 
along the beach and in the outlet of the bay, awaiting 
her coming. It was not until sunrise on Saturday that 
the vessel came in sight. She cast anchor about two 
miles from the shore, and it was necessary to row this 
distance. The Mechyle, for such was the name of our 
steamer, is a propeller, two hundred and seventy-five 
feet long and thirty feet beam. She made twelve knots 
an hour and rolled like a log. This, with other boats 



ix.] USE OF PETROLEUM FOR FUEL. 171 

of the Caucasus and Mercury Company, were bought 
in England and Europe, and, after sailing up the Baltic 
to St. Petersburg, were cut in two and transported by 
a portage to the Volga, where, being put together, 
they in time of high water steamed down to the Cas- 
pian Sea. 

A marked feature in all these boats is the arrange- 
ment for using the crude petroleum for fuel. The fires 
are started with wood, and as soon as steam is up a 
jet of petroleum is driven by a jet of steam into 
spray, and to the end of the furnace. The combus- 
tion is thus made perfect. The two jets are controlled 
by means of two faucets, and pipes properly adjusted at 
the opening of the furnace. It is claimed that no 
danger is incurred by the use of the petroleum. Such 
is the abundance of this oil at Baku, that it is the 
cheapest fuel to be had on the shores of the Caspian 
Sea, and it is the only fuel available on the eastern coast. 

The steamers touch at Astara and Lankoran. The 
former is a small village on the boundary between 
Russia and Persia. The latter is the first Russian town 
on the Caspian coast. Ten miles north of Lankoran 
there is a broad bay protected on the north. Steamers 
and sailing vessels run into this natural harbour in 
rough weather, and when they cannot safely lie at 
anchor in the roadstead of these towns. On the north 
of this bay there is a chain of islands ofT.the west 
coast. In rough weather the vessels run between 
these islands and the mainland. Our steamer made 



172 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

but short stops, and, though we did not leave Anzile 
until near nine o'clock, we entered the harbour of Baku, 
two hundred and forty miles distant from Anzile, at 
about nine o'clock in the morning of the next day. 
There is a clear view of Baku and of the surround- 
ing country to be had from the deck of the steamer on 
entering the spacious bay upon the shores of which 
the town is situated. Many islands appear on the 
south of the harbour. A bold ridge runs to the sea 
on the south of the town. There are high hills on 
the west which, in the northwest, unite by a gradual 
slope with the lowland of Cape Apsheran. The cape 
lies on the north of the town. 

The officers of the customs came aboard as soon as 
the steamer entered the bay. Our passports had been 
surrendered to the clerk of the steamer to be delivered 
to these officials. All the baggage was taken to the 
custom house, where it was examined. As it was 
now the Sabbath, I went immediately to the congrega- 
tion of the Protestant Armenians. I found about forty 
persons present. One Avek Vartinoff, an officer of 
the police, led the services in the Armenian. Quite 
all the members of this congregation were from the 
city of Shamakha. The services were conducted in 
the order of Presbyterians or Methodists, and no 
ritual was used. There are in Baku two Russian and 
two Armenian churches. The Mohammedans enjoy 
their own religious faith with less ostentation than is 
customary in the countries of Islam. 



ix.] BAKU— POPULATION AND IMPORTANCE. 173 

Baku has the appearance of a large European town. 
A goodly number of ships were at anchor in the har- 
bour. The bay forms a natural harbour. The force 
of the sea coming from the east is broken by the 
islands which lie off the coast. The name Baku is 
thought to have been derived from the Persian words 
bad, the wind, and kubedah, beaten, and therefore 
means wind beaten. It is so named from the preva- 
lence of winds on the coast. These drive the sand 
into drifts in the streets of the town. It is, however, 
conjectured that the name was taken from that of a 
Tartar prince who once ruled in these regions. 

The population of the city is about ten l thousand 
souls. It is the most important town on the shores 
of the Caspian Sea. It derives importance from its 
excellent harbour, extensive petroleum wells, and from 
the fact that it is the principal military post for this 
district. A large number of the people are Russians 
in the service of the government. Many are Germans. 
The Armenians number three thousand souls. The 
Turkish or Tartar Mohammedans are more numerous 
than the Europeans. The barracks and government 
buildings are spacious. The Russian churches are 
quaint structures of stone. Each one has its roof 
painted green, and is surmounted by a triple cupola, 
significant of the Trinity. An old tower of stone near 
the sea is a memorial of the Tartar rulers. The 

1 In 1884 the place contained about thirty thousand people, and 
promises soon to be the largest city of the Caucasus. 



174 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

bazaars in trie lower part of the town with their Mus- 
sulman occupants, are in marked contrast with the 
European shops in the streets adjacent and above 
them. The languages spoken on the streets and in 
the shops are the Russian and the Turkish. The 
drivers of the public conveyances are Turks. The 
buildings are, for the most part, of stone. 

Baku is more noted for the petroleum of Cape Ap- 
sheran than for any other feature. On my return, a few 
weeks later, I had time to go to the petroleum wells, and 
it will be in place to give some account of them here. 
Cape Apsheran is about twenty-five or thirty versts 
wide in a line drawn north from Baku. There are 
several localities in which the oil has been found. But 
the principal source of supply is a small tract of land 
about fifteen versts north of the city. Near a hundred 
wells have here been sank in the space of a few acres. 
The wells are opened by boring, and oil is obtained at 
a depth of from three to five hundred feet. The flow 
of oil is like the jet of a geyser. The jets of oil 
reach the height of from thirty to sixty feet above 
the ground. At this time a well had recently been 
opened, and efforts were being made to stop the flow 
of oil without effect. The height of the flow was not 
less than forty feet, a good-sized stream of the oil 
flowed from the well in a ditch to a large pond of petro- 
leum. A few versts east of this point, gas is obtained 
by sinking pipes in wells dug or bored for the purpose. 
I saw several lime kilns burning with gas thus ob- 



ix.] THE RUSSIAN POST. 175 

tained. An extensive series of furnaces were heated 
in the same way. 

Many years ago there was a fire temple of the fire- 
worshippers in this place. The old building was stand- 
ing, but appeared to be deserted. The fires of this 
region have long since lost their mysterious aspect, and 
have been put to such secular uses as to appear to be 
no longer of Divine origin, or an appropriate object of 
worship. Having ceased to be the symbols of the 
fire-worshippers, they have become the shrines of the 
worshippers of Mammon. 

At this time the only means of conveying the oil to 
the harbour was by carting it in large tanks. In later 
years a railway has been constructed and a pipe has 
been laid to the refiners. There is no good water in 
Baku. That which is obtained and used in the town is 
strongly impregnated with salt and petroleum. Good 
water is to be had by bringing it a distance of several 
miles. On leaving Baku I had my first experience of 
the Russian post. The post is controlled by the gov- 
ernment One of two degrees of speed is permitted. 
The choice must be made by the traveller between the 
ordinary rate, and chapar. He may have a choice of 
vehicles also. These are the phaeton, diligence, taran- 
tas, and troika. The tarantas consists of a coach set 
on bars of wood instead of steel springs. The troika 
is a wooden box lined with sheet iron, and having a 
curved bottom like that of a boat, set upon the axles 
without any springs. The only device for relief from 



176 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

the jolting of this wagon is a net of ropes stretched 
for a seat, or a bed which the traveller in Russia is 
always supposed to carry when going by post. 

These vehicles are let at a carefully graded scale of 
prices, which are supposed to represent the different 
degrees of comfort imparted by each kind of convey- 
ance, as well as the amount of capital invested in each. 
No vehicle can be drawn by less than three horses, 
and four horses are preferable, and commonly re- 
quired ; for the roads are rough and the wagons heavy. 
Four horses can be hitched to the conveyance more 
easily than three can be. Two are attached to the 
tongue and forward axle, and two may be attached to 
the rear axle by means of poles extending from the 
axle over the forward wheels. There is one pole on 
each side, and a singletree is fastened to the end of the 
pole. As I was without travelling companion, I had no 
need of a diligence or tarantas, and therefore hired a 
troika and three horses, believing that three could 
draw the driver and myself. I had not understood the 
need of taking a bed, and the arrangement of a rope 
seat was unknown to me. I had only an overcoat and 
shawl. Having ridden in this conveyance two nights 
and two days in succession, I feel qualified to give 
advice, and to say that I do not like the troika. 

It was necessary that I should go to the post house, 
to make sure of leaving Baku at sunset, and that 
there might be no delay. The horses were attached 
to the troika in the yard. The vehicle was heavy. A 



ix.] VILLAGE OF SHIR WAN. 177 

good part of the harness was made of ropes. The 
usual bow was suspended above the horse which was 
in the thills, and a bell was attached to the top of it. 
As soon as the driver took up the rope lines, the horses 
sprang forward for the gateway, and one of the wheels 
struck the gate post. A man seized the bits of the 
horses' bridles. The troika was lifted clear of the 
post ; the horses made a plunge into the street, and 
started upon a run which they continued until want of 
breath compelled them to slacken their pace. This is 
a fair sample of the start at every post house. The 
driver has but little control over the horses, and they 
are trained to make this sort of a start. The drivers 
appear to have been taught to mind their own busi- 
ness, and to be as uncivil and ugly as possible. The 
post stations are from fifteen to twenty versts 1 apart. 
The horses are in excellent condition. We made fre- 
quent changes of horses and drivers, and continued 
the journey during the entire night. Soon after sun- 
rise we entered the village of Shirwan, having ridden 
since sunset a distance of one hundred and thirteen 
versts. On returning over this route a few weeks 
later, I had an opportunity to remain a day in this 
place, and drove thence to Baku in the day time. 

The country between Shirwan and Baku is a barren 
region, and in great part destitute of streams of water. 
The highway crosses a part of Cape Apsheran for a 
distance of near fifty versts. The Caspian Sea is 

1 A verst is equal to a fraction over two-thirds of a mile. 
12 



178 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

plainly visible on the north of the cape. In the second 
fifty versts the road traverses a hilly country much 
higher than the cape. At Shirwan we come upon the 
southeastern extremity of the Caucasus range. Very 
high and precipitous mountains are to be seen to the 
northwest. There are here two large villages. The 
southern of the two is called Shirwan, and is inhabited 
by Mussulmans. The northern town is called Sha- 
makha, and is peopled by Armenians. The villages 
are contiguous to one another, and together contain 
about fifteen thousand souls. In former years this 
place was the seat of government, and was a military 
post. The town lost its importance in i860, with the 
removal of the government offices, and the military 
post, to Baku. 

The decline of the city is due in part to the earth- 
quakes from which it has suffered. That which 
occurred in the autumn of 1872 prostrated many 
houses and occasioned the death of one hundred 
people. The Protestant Armenians were assembled at 
the time of the catastrophe, in their house of worship, 
which was constructed with stone walls and a light 
frame roof. The first shock caused the people to 
spring to their feet ; but the quickly returning wave 
prevented escape, and prostrated the entire building. 
Twenty persons were instantly killed, and one hundred 
persons were rescued from the ruins. The trials expe- 
rienced by this congregation have been many and very 
great. An Armenian teacher and exhorter named Sar- 



ix. ] SHA MA KHA—EA R THQ UAKES. 1 79 



gis is the founder and religious guide of this people. In 
his youthful years he attended the school of the German 
missionaries then stationed at Shusha. He came to 
Shamakha in 1842, and opened a school for Armenian 
children. In time, as his Evangelical sentiments 
became known, opposition was stirred up, and his 
school closed. But a goodly number of Armenians 
had adopted his views. In 1867 he and his adherents 
were ex-communicated from the Armenian Church. 
He was ordered to appear before the bishop. He was 
banished by the Russian authorities, but in time re- 
turned. During several years the Protestant congre- 
gation were not permitted to hold religious services, 
and the sacraments were denied them. Religious 
meetings were held in secret, and in the valleys of 
these mountains. 

The Russian authorities finally adopted a lenient 
policy, and attached the congregation to the Lutheran 
Synod, with a pastor at Tiflis, four hundred versts 
distant. No sacrament can be administered, nor can 
marriage be celebrated, except by this pastor. No 
person could become a member of this church except 
upon a written application accepted by the congrega- 
tion, endorsed by the pastor at Tiflis, and approved by 
the Russian authorities in that city. The Society now 
numbered five hundred members. They have a com- 
modious school building, erected by funds sent for the 
purpose by Christian people in Germany. This build- 
ing has a large chapel in which the public services of 



180 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

the congregation are held. The school for boys con- 
tained sixty boys, and that for girls, twenty pupils. In 
1884 the Society had in employ an Armenian pastor, 
who had received his education in Germany, but was 
connected with the Lutheran Synod. 

In all this region there are numbers of the religion- 
ists commonly called Molakans. They are of the 
pure Russian stock. Sixty thousand of this people 
were removed from Russia proper to the Caucasus on 
account of their refusal to conform to the Russian 
Church, from which they had separated. Their creed 
appears to be in some particulars very indefinite. They 
discard the ordinances and hold the allegorical inter- 
pretation of the Scriptures. They are agriculturists, 
industrious and prosperous. 

From Shamakha there are two routes to Tiflis : one 
follows the valley of the Kur River; the other is 
known as the mountain route. I chose the former, 
said to be the better, and also the longer by near fifty 
versts. 

Leaving the village near noon, we drove at a furious 
rate, a distance of seventeen versts, over a hilly road. 
The driver was told to slacken his speed, but he 
replied that the order called for chapar, and that he 
must obey the order ; this was said at the top of a 
long descent down which the horses went at a full 
gallop. They fortunately passed the bridge at the 
foot of the hill without doing harm. I was more 
fortunate than another person of whom I heard in 



ix.] DESCENT FROM THE CA UCASUS. 181 

Tiflis, for in descending this mountain the wheels of 
the troike struck the stone curbing of the bridge, and 
he was thrown to the ground with broken bones and 
bruises. 

The arrival of the governor's cortege by chapar 
detained us an hour at the next station. On seeing 
me the governor inquired very courteously the cause 
of detention, and learning the reason ordered that 
horses should be furnished at once. The elevation of 
this station is near three thousand feet above the level 
of the sea. 

In the course of the next stage the road follows a 
spur of the Caucasus, and during several versts there 
is an extended view of the valley of the Kur on the 
left, and south and west, and of the Caucasus on the 
north and northwest. The descent to the valley is 
very precipitous, and is made by a zigzag course. The 
difference in altitude between the summit and the 
valley beneath the mountain is fully two thousand 
feet. The Goeg Tchai, Aug Tchai and Kur rivers flow 
in this plain. Hence to Gangah the road follows the 
valley. There aue but few villages and very little cul- 
tivation. The Aug Tchai or White River is a consid- 
erable stream, but is divided into many channels. The 
Goeg Tchai, or Green River, has a depth at this season 
of two and a half feet and a width of about seventy- 
five feet. 

The village of Aug Tchai was reached by us at mid- 
night. As no horses could be obtained, we remained 



1 82 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

here until morning. In the next stage we crossed the 
river Kur by a ferry-boat. The boat was attached to 
a rope and propelled by the current. The Kur is the 
ancient Cyrus. At the station Mengatchore this river 
is one hundred Russian orshanes wide and three 
orshanes deep in the channel. Hence to Gangah the 
distance is fifty versts. At Kara Tchai, or Black River, 
a good road coming from the Kara Bogh region unites 
with the road from Baku. We entered Gangah at 
midnight and found fair accommodations in the 
hotel. 

The population of this city is stated at thirty thou- 
sand. The people are of many races ; they are Kurds, 
Armenians, Tartars, Georgians, and Russians. This 
is the principal town between Baku and Tiflis, and 
largest town in the valley of the Kur below the cap- 
ital. The city was taken by Agah Mohammed Shah 
in 1795 and 1796. 1 In 1826 the Persians devastated 
this region, and the Mohammedans of Gangah mas- 
sacred the garrison and exterminated the Armenians 
residing in the city. 

The turnpike from Erivan unites with the road from 
Baku near the village Hessan or Gessan, eighty versts 
southward of Tiflis. From this place there is a good 
graded road to the capital. The country is hilly. The 
level valley ceases near Gessan. The roads near this 
point are infested with banditti. I did not fear being 
molested, but the true state of the country seemed to 

1 Watson's History of Persia, pp. 90, 91 ; 212, 213. 



ix.] TIFLIS— SITUATION. 183 

be understood by a Russian officer in whose company 
I travelled one day. He said that no Russian officer 
is safe if belated or taken at a disadvantage by the 
peasantry. 

The last ten versts of the distance were made over 
a good road, and along the south bank of the Kur. 
My first sight of Tiflis was obtained from this road. 
The city occupies both sides of the river. The Kur 
here flows through a deep rocky gorge with the rapid- 
ity of a mountain torrent. On either side there are 
mountains; those on the south side of the stream 
have a steep descent to the river. The mountains 
on the north, in broader and more gradual waves, join 
the distant and higher peaks of the Caucasus. The 
city of Tiflis has an altitude of about fifteen hundred 
feet above the sea. It is intensely hot in the summer 
season. The degree of heat is often as much as 1 1 5 ° F. 
in the shade. 

If history be correct, the founding of the city is due 
to the reputed virtues of the hot and mineral springs 
in this place. The name Tiflis is the term used to 
denote the mineral water. It is recorded that the 
Czar Liewvang resorted to the springs in a.d. 1063 
that he might derive benefit from a residence near 
them. This statement of Sir K. Porter is controverted 
by that of Wahl, who says, in substance, that the city 
was founded in a. d. 469, and that " its most brilliant 
period was the reign of Thamur, from A. D. 1 1 84 to 1 2 1 2." 
The present city is the metropolis of the Caucasus. It 



184 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 



has a population of near one hundred thousand souls. 
The inhabitants are of many races. They are Tartars, 
Armenians, Jews, Germans, Europeans, Georgians, and 
Russians. The Armenians are said to number near 
thirty thousand souls, and the Mohammedans as many 
more. The Armenians are traders, and are sharp and 
enterprising. The Germans are a remnant of a colony 
settled here under special grants from the Czar. They 
are wealthy and appear to be prosperous. 

Tiflis is the emporium of all the country south of 
the Caucasus mountains, and of a good part of Persia. 
A military road has been constructed hence across the 
mountains, and a railway completed to the Black Sea. 
The army of the Caucasus on the peace footing is 
sixty thousand men. This point is favourably situated 
for the distribution of the forces to the east and south, 
and for aggressive movements on Turkey and Persia. 
There is but one bridge over the Kur in the city. The 
principal structures and objects of interest in the town 
are the government buildings, the barracks and arsenal 
on the northern side of the river, and the palace of the 
grand duke on the south. The duchess has under her 
patronage a school for young ladies, for the use of 
which a fine building has been erected. A large park 
in the central part of the city is frequented by the 
people at all times, especially on the Sabbath. The 
Sabbath is a market day, when the contents of the 
shops are turned into the streets, and the principal 
streets are blocked with country carts and hucksters. 



ix.] PO TE—BA TO UM. 1 85 

It is from this custom of the Russians that the Moham- 
medans of Turkey have been led in derision, to name 
the Christian Sabbath, " Bazaar Guen, or Market Day." 
The distance from Tiflis to Pote is one hundred and 
seventy-nine versts. There is a heavy grade to the 
summit of the watershed between the Kur and the 
Black Sea. In a part of the way the road follows the 
valley of the Rion 1 River, at the mouth of which Pote 
is situated. It is said that there was great mortality 
among the workmen who constructed the railway 
through the swamps near the Black Sea. This en- 
tire region is noted for malaria, and the fatal effects 
of the climate on all Europeans who remain a long 
time here, if their life is such as to make exposure 
necessary. 

Pote is a miserable little village of about one thou- 
sand souls. It has no harbour. Large ships cannot 
cross the bar at the mouth of the river, and must, there- 
fore, lie in the roadstead. Efforts are being made by 
the government to construct a harbour, but without 
success. Small steamers, drawing no more than three 
or four feet of water, are able to cross the bar, and ply 
between this place and Batoum, a distance of fifty 
miles ; and between this and Suakim, on the northern 
shore of the sea. The people of Pote have an abiding 
recollection of the fabled sheep of the golden fleece, 
and claim that it was on the banks of the Rion that 
this famous animal was to be found. The stranger who 

1 The ancient Phasis. 



1 86 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

remains with them a day will judge that the people 
have conjectured that sheep with the golden fleece are 
natives of some other land than this. 

Batoum has the advantage of a deep, though small, 
natural harbour. The town contains some three or 
four thousand people. There is here only a small 
tract of land between the sea and the precipitous 
side of the mountains. This place, and quite all the 
eastern coast of the Black Sea, resembles the southern 
shores of the Caspian in the humidity of the air, the 
abundance of rain, and in the prevalence of malaria. 

There is a custom house at Pote. The rigour of the 
Russian customs has quite broken up the transit of 
goods through the Caucasus to Persia, and trade now 
seeks the old route by way of Trebizond and Khoy. 
This severity may have been necessary to break up exten- 
sive systems of smuggling goods into the country. But 
the impression prevails that it was a part of a scheme 
in the interest of Russian trade and Russian manu- 
factures. The railway which was projected in 1875 to 
run from Tiflis to Baku has been completed. The 
acquisition of Batoum by Russia has changed some- 
what the line of traffic, and Pote has lost importance. 
A railway has been made from Batoum to Tiflis. This 
gives connection by rail of the Black and the Caspian 
Seas. The entire line was completed and opened in 
1883. The Caucasus is thus made an important em- 
porium, and favourable point for the concentration of 
troops for the regions east of the Caspian Sea. But in 



ix.] RUSSIAN CUSTOMS. 187 

these changes Tiflis has lost much of its importance, 
and of its population, and Baku promises to be its 
successful rival. 

A very fair opportunity for judging of the people, 
and of the condition of this country, is afforded by a 
journey from the Caspian to the Black Sea. The 
masses of the people are certainly very low in the 
scale of civilization, and need not only a strong gov- 
ernment which they have, but also need vigourous 
measures for their improvement in general intelli- 
gence. There are certain orders of men distinctly 
Russian in character to be seen here and in every other 
place in Russia. They are the priests and the military. 
The former are distinguished by flowing beards, tall 
velvet hats, and long black gowns. The military man 
is conspicuous by the white cap, and the sword dang- 
ling at his side. The people of the different races and 
religions are known by difference of speech, feature, 
and costume. 

All proselytism is prohibited by Russian law. Mis- 
sionary work is considered to be such, and is, there- 
fore, not tolerated. Agents of the British and For- 
eign Bible Society are permitted to sell the Scriptures, 
but in time past the same privilege has been refused 
the American Bible Society. This, for one of two 
reasons, doubtless, either because American agents 
are of uncongenial political sentiments, or because it 
would be contrary to the policy of the government to 
allow any competition in the field of religious enter- 



1 88 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [ix. 

prise. The agents of the former society have been 
very successful in the line of their work, and have 
shown a spirit and enterprise worthy of the race to 
which they belong, and of the cause which they 
represent. The Russian government maintains in the 
Caucasus a system of free schools, and aid is given by 
it to class or private schools. The religious distinc- 
tions of the different sects are so marked, and any 
change of religious opinion so strongly prohibited, and 
so severely punished, that a national system of educa- 
tion is made wellnigh impracticable. Education is not 
compulsory, and a large proportion of the native pop- 
ulation is, by religious faith, opposed to the public 
schools. The country, though naturally fertile, is 
largely desert. The methods of agriculture are the 
same as are to be seen in Persia, and are yet of the 
primitive sort. 

I need not give here any account of my return by 
this route to the Caspian Sea, and to Persia. After 
the usual experiences of the Caspian, at this season, 
and after the tedious journey by caravan, I arrived in 
Tehran on the 8th of December. 



CHAPTER X. 

From Tehran to Mashhad — Plain of Varomene — Site of Raghes — Ar- 
sacia — The Jorje Rud — Awanakafe — Passes of the Elburz and Roads 
— The Sardarak — Ruins — Conjectures as to the Pass called the Caspian 
Gates — Singular Speech of Simnon — Water Supply — The Kalah of 
Losgird — Simnon — The Mosque of Fattah Ale Shah — The Plain of 
Damgan — Ride to Dah Mullah — To Shah Rud — To Khairabad — 
The Azon — Maia Mai — Meon Dasht — The Cisterns — Narrative of 
Captivity among Turkmans — Situation of Meon Dasht — March to 
Abasabad — The Springs — The Chasm — Situation of Abasabad — Cur- 
ious Marriage Custom — Route between Abasabad and Mazenan — The 
Kara Su — Sadrabad — Mazenan — Mahr — To Sabzewar — City of Sab- 
zewar — Dangers of Travel by Caravan — Missionaries of the Bab — 
Ride to Zafaran — To Shore Aub — The Station Shore Aub — Road to 
Nishapoor — Cheman — Plain of Nishapoor — The City — Antiquity of 
the Place — Schools — Turquoise Mines — Persian Serpent and Scorpion 
Charmers. 

The distance from Tehran to the city called Mashhad 
the Holy, is one hundred and fifty farasangs, 1 or about 
six hundred miles. The most frequented route follows 
the southern skirt of the Elburz, and the border of 
the desert of Khorasan. It crosses many arms of the 
desert and mountain ridges ; but shuns alike the broad 

1 This word is written in Persian both farsang and parsang. It is 
commonly pronounced with three syllables, and as if spelled with a 
final k. The word is a compound of far and sang ; the latter means 
a stone ; the meaning of the former term is not known. The estimated 

189 



igo THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 



morasses and the precipitous peaks. In the spring time 
a few small rivers, flowing from the Elburz, cross this 
road on their way to the plains on the south. In the 
summer season there remains no more than the dry 
and stony bed to show the course of these streams. 
Another route may be taken for a good part of the first 
half of the way. It crosses some of the highest moun- 
tains of the Elburz, and is practicable in summer only. 
Although rugged and high, it gives relief from the in- 
tense heat of the plain, and brings the traveller into 
the immediate vicinity of Damavand. On the first 
route there is a chapar, and a telegraph line to Mash- 
had. This is the road commonly taken by caravans, 
and by pilgrims. It suited my purpose to go by this 
route, and to travel by chapar. I left Tehran on the 
morning of April 17th, 1878. 

length of a farasang varies with the unit of measure. A Persian lexi- 
cographer says that the farasang is equal to three meel, and every meel 
to four thousand gaz, and every gaz to twenty-four fingers of the hand 
placed side by side, or to the length of six fists placed side by side. 
This would make the gaz equal to the long cubit, and I therefore 
reckon, on good authority, the farasang to be equal to four English 
miles, although it may be less or more than this. The Persian gov- 
ernment has enacted that the legal farasang be six thousand zarhs. The 
zarh is a standard measure of forty-one inches length. In this case the 
gaz or cubit, is equal to twenty and one-half inches. This measure cor- 
responds to the length of the farasang as formerly reckoned in Persia. In 
the absence of accurate measurements of distances, the length of the 
farasang would vary somewhat with the nature of the country. The 
length of a farasang seems, however, to be quite the same, if one may 
judge from the time and speed required to travel over the distance so 
named. 



x.] SITE OF RAGHES. 191 



After a ride of near two hours, in a southeasterly 
course, over the plain of Tehran, we reached the high- 
est point of the ridge which separates the plains of 
Tehran and Varomene. At the southwestern extrem- 
ity of this ridge is the city of Shah Abd al Azeem and 
the ruins of Ra. On the left hand and north, the El- 
burz Mountains, of the Jorje Rud region, and vicinity 
of Damavand. In front and on the south, an extended 
plain, which in many parts of it appeared to be well 
watered, and well under cultivation. This plain is at 
the eastern extremity of the valley which rises at Sul- 
taneah, and may be said to be in the border of the des- 
ert of Khorasan. On its eastern extremity is the con- 
jectured site of the ancient Raghes. The name Varo- 
mene is believed by some writers to represent the 
Varena, and Raghes the Ragha of the Vendidad of 
Sade, mentioned as stations in the wanderings of the 
Arians. Some writers have located the site of Arsacia, 
the reputed residence of the founder of the Parthian 
dynasty, in the plain southeast of Varomene. 

Descending to the plain we crossed the Jorje Rud at 
a point a little south of Kabud Gumbaz. The mountain 
stream had a depth of three feet in one of the many 
channels, and a width of one hundred feet, flowing 
with great rapidity. In the summer season the chan- 
nels are quite dry. We remained for the night at 
Awanakafe. This is a village of one hundred houses, 
and is divided by a small river of that name. The 
name itself is a compound word quite significant, 



1 9 2 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

meaning the hall of pleasure. It furnishes no ground 
for the legend of a drunken king, but was given prob- 
ably to the modern village as significant of its being a 
place of rest and refreshment. There is a road hence 
to Koom, and to the Feruz Kuh pass. The latter 
road would be the direct one from the south to Dama- 
vand, and is supposed by some persons to have been 
the celebrated pass called the Caspian Gates. 

The stage of the second day led us through the 
Sardarak. This is a name given to a tortuous chasm 
through a spur of the mountains which here extends 
from the main range into the plain. The western 
entrance is some six or eight miles eastward from 
Awanakafe. The whole length of the gorge is about 
four miles to the plain on the eastern side. Near the 
entrance on the west are the ruins of an old watch 
tower. The ruins of several other like structures 
crowned the summits of the hills above. These were 
in positions whicji gave a command of portions of the 
valley. This chasm has been supposed to be the 
veritable Caspian Gates through which Darius fled as 
he was pursued by Alexander. But it seems hardly 
probable that a passage of this sort, from one part of a 
plain to another portion of the same plain, would be 
considered the pass of the Elburz, or as in any way to 
be named with the Caspian. 

The post rider said that at the eastern extremity of 
the pass there is a well, the water of which always has 
the colour of blood. This peculiarity of the water was 



x.] KALAHS— IMPORTANCE. 193 

owing to the fact, so he said, that in former times, 
when the pass was infested with robbers, the bodies 
of the people slain by them were thrown into a cavern 
which was at one time in this locality. When the roof 
of the cave fell, this pit remained to mark the spot, 
and the water which rose in it ever continued to be 
blood. On reaching the end of the gorge, he was 
urged to point out the pit. He rode up to a well 
which was filled with water having the colour of the 
clay about it. On the right of the eastern end of the 
pass, and some distance from it, is a large mound. 
This is apparently the ruin of an old kalah. It is 
probably the remnant of one of the citadels called 
kalahs, which were once constructed at convenient 
intervals on this road. On riding from Kishlak to Dah 
Namak, or Salt Village, I passed the old kalahs called 
Yatre, Aradune and Pa Dah. They are in a fair con- 
dition and inhabited as villages. These structures are 
of sun-dried brick, and are several stones high. At a 
distance they resemble the immense blocks of stone or 
brick to be seen in the large cities of Europe. At 
Dah Namak the kalah is a ruin. It was built in this 
manner: first a wall of sun-dried brick was con- 
structed to a height of fifty or sixty feet ; within this 
were huts. These in time went to ruin. Then the 
structure was repaired, and other small houses built 
upon the ruins of the old dwellings. At this time the 
roofs of the hovels are wellnigh on a level with the 
top of the wall. 
13 



194 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

I. noticed here that the people spoke a strange 
speech. On inquiry, I learned that it is called Sim- 
nonee, and derives its name from that of the city of 
Simnon. This tongue is spoken in Dah Namak, Los- 
gird, Simnon, and some other villages. It is a jargon 
of Kurd and old Persian. 

The process of bread-making was carried on in the 
public common by the women of the town. Owing 
to the large number of caravans, and of pilgrims pass- 
ing over this highway, there is here a demand for 
bread which occasions quite a business for the bakeries. 
These were all in front of the houses, and consist of 
a bank of earth maMe smooth and levelled on top, and 
covered with cement or a pavement of brick. In the 
pavement were the holes called tanours, or ovens. 
Two or three women sat on each terrace engaged with 
this work. As I wanted to see the process of bread- 
making as carried on in a systematic way, I went to 
one of the terraces. One of the women immediately 
offered a cake of bread. When I informed her that I 
had come to see the bread made, they all fell to work 
with a will. One woman mixed the flour and passed 
it to another, who kneaded it and rolled it with a wooden 
roller. With a dexterous movement of her hands she 
took the cake of dough upon the tips of the fingers, 
causing it to revolve until it became thin as a knife 
blade. She then passed it to a third woman, who re- 
ceived the cake upon a pad, over which it was stretched 
to the full size. A fourth woman took up the pad with 



x.] DAH NAMAK—LOSGIRD—SIMNON. 195 

her right hand, and, kneeling over the side of the fire- 
less though hot oven, with a quick motion dashed the 
dough against the cemented side, where it was soon 
done and browned, and whence it was quickly re- 
moved. The supply of water in much of the way is 
from cisterns called Aub Umbar. These differ from 
the cisterns of the cities by being constructed with 
much less care. They are often mere holes filled with 
water and covered with an arched roof of brick. All 
the water of the connaughts is brackish. Fortunately 
the people in many of the towns put up ice. The pil- 
grims are glad to purchase ice as well as bread. 

The distance from Dah Namak to Losgird is eight 
farasangs. There are no villages between these 
stations. There are mountains of gypsum near the 
latter place, and by their bleached appearance con- 
tribute to the dreary aspect of this region. The old 
citadel at Losgird is the most imposing structure of 
the kind to be seen on this route. The walls are very 
high, and the front has two porches. Vines were 
growing over the walls, and partially concealed some 
of the door-ways. Quite a number of people occupied 
the kalah, living in the topmost rooms. Halting here 
but a few moments to change horses, we rode on to 
Simnon. 

This is a city of ten thousand people. The poll-tax 
is paid by one thousand males. Although the people 
speak the modern Persian, yet among themselves they 
use the Simnonee. There is a story descriptive of this 



195 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

jargon which is often told by people of this region. 
It is, that one of the kings of Persia appointed a 
learned man to investigate and report upon the various 
dialects and languages of Persia. The savant traversed 
the kingdom in the prosecution of his mission. On 
his return to the court he was given an audience by 
the king. The courtiers and great men were assem- 
bled. He discoursed in a learned manner of the 
different tribes he had seen, and of the many tongues 
he had heard. At length he came to speak of the 
people of Simnon. He now remained silent a moment, 
and, taking an empty gourd, he put into it a few 
small stones ; then holding the gourd up and shaking 
it, he cried out, " Here you have the language of 
Simnon." 

The principal structure of the town is the mosque 
of the Shah, built by the order of Fattah Ale Shah. 
When we rode up to it, several mullahs were reclining 
in the gateway, and invited me to enter. I was not 
permitted to go into the Joie Namaz, or place of 
prayer ; but I could easily see all there was of that 
holy place, from the court. The court itself is sixty 
paces square. In the centre of each side there is a 
lofty arched doorway which is faced with glazed tiles. 
The mambar or pulpit was made wholly of alabaster 
and consisted of fifteen steps. The entire stairway 
was about three-quarters of a yard wide. The en- 
trance to the city is made through extensive ceme- 
teries. These and many structures in the town give 



x.] THE PLAIN OF DAMGAN. 197 

evidence of great age. In the city there are many- 
very large and high buildings which seem to have been 
for defense. On the south of the city there are kabeers 1 
which are reported to cover a great expanse of the 
desert. Only experienced camel drivers can pass these 
marshes. These men are said to have learned the in- 
tricate ways by which the desert is to be* penetrated, 
from herding their camels in these regions. In the 
journey hence to Yezd there is a part of the way re- 
quiring twelve days' travel, in which no human habita- 
tion and no water is to be found. Fresh water must 
be carried over this distance. The camels can do 
without water for five or six days. Rock salt is ob- 
tained in the vicinity of Simnon. 

The distance hence to Damgan is said to be twenty- 
two farasangs. We left Simnon in the morning and 
entered Damgan at five o'clock in the afternoon. 
Ahuon, and Da Kasse are names of post houses situ- 
ated between these two cities. The approach to 
Damgan is over a broad plain, a fertile border of the 
great desert. The plain is very level, and gives evi- 
dence of having been cultivated much more exten- 
sively than it is now. Damgan is a town of about five 
thousand people. The bazaars are going to ruin, and 
the place has not the appearance of prosperity. The 
best preserved and only remaining old structures are two 
minars connected with mosques. One is called Chehil 
Sutune, and the other Maschide Jam. The latter has 

1 The kabeer is the name of a morass in the desert. 



198 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

two katebah. These are bands of tiling with raised 
Kufee letters. In each minaret there is a stairway to 
the top of the structure. The mosques attached to 
the minarets are of sun-dried brick, and are evidently 
of much later construction than the minars. These 
are of red brick, and of a workmanship which refers 
them to an e'arly date after the Mohammedan conquest. 

Some travellers have assumed that the site of Dam- 
gan is the same as that of the ancients Hecatompylos. 
This ancient capital of Parthia is believed by Rawlin- 
son to have been much further east than Damgan, and 
to have been in the borders of Turkistan. Sir K. 
Porter wildly conjectures that Parthia proper was 
identical with the province called Mazandaran, and 
that Hecatompylos occupied the site now covered by 
Ispahan. 

A ride of six farasangs over a level plain brought 
us to Dah Mullah. This village stands near the 
mouth of a valley which unites with the desert in the 
plains of Damgan. The mountains are quite near the 
village on the north. On that side of the village there 
is a row of small towers a few yards apart, and which 
extends to the steep sides of the mountain. Similar 
structures are to be seen on the plain, and in quite all 
the way to Mashhad. They were erected as a defense 
against the attacks of the Turkmans. As these 
nomads make their attacks on horseback and with 
swords, they are quite powerless against so simple a 
defense as a mud tower. In this the Persian can con- 



x.] KHAIRABAD. 199 

ceal himself, and by using fire-arms can resist a supe- 
rior number of the enemy. The road from Dah 
Mullah to Shah Rud, a distance of four farasangs, 
passes over a rough and dreary country. The name 
Shah Rud, meaning king river, is given to a small 
village through which a small stream of water flows 
from the Elburz. The place has gained some im- 
portance from having been a military post, and owing 
to the fact that it was formerly more than now, on the 
border of the Turkman country. All the people of 
this village were Mohammedans except six young 
men, Armenians, who were living here for the purpose 
of trade. 

I learned before leaving Tehran that a military 
escort, which I was advised to join, left Khairabad 
twice each month to accompany caravans and pilgrims 
to Mazenan, a distance of one hundred and twenty- 
five miles. This stretch of the country is called the 
Joie Khof, or place of fear. It is so named because of 
the fact that the raids of the Turkmans have been 
made over this tract of country. The escort is fur- 
nished by the Shah's government. It then left 
Khairabad on the fifth and nineteenth of every month. 

It was near sunset when we rode into Khairabad. 
The name means good abode or no abode, according 
as the first word of this compound term is understood. 
The latter signification seemed to be the more appro- 
priate, as there was no house in the place, except the 
deserted ruins of a village which had been forsaken on 



200 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

account of the severity of the famine or from fear of 
Turkmans. I threw a rug upon the ground, and upon 
it some of the luggage, and sat down to rest, having 
ridden during the day, about sixty miles, and having 
in prospect a ride which was to continue until morn- 
ing. The people to compose the caravan had been 
assembling during several days, and consisted of the 
followers of Ale from many countries. There were 
Tartars from Russia, Turkey, and Afghanistan, and 
Persians from quite every province. There were 
dervishes from India, and from the borders of Egypt ; 
princes and rich men from Tehran and other cities, 
and a crowd of common people from the villages. 
Many persons went on foot; some on horses ; a large 
number were mounted on donkeys, and others rode 
camels. The escort consisted of thirty cavalry, twenty- 
five infantiy, and a six-pound gun, which was drawn 
by three span of horses. I counted two hundred and 
twenty-five mules and horses, there must have been as 
many donkeys, and there was a large number of foot- 
men. 

I wished to know more of the necessity for all these 
precautions to protect the caravan ; and so, turning to 
a Persian merchant, I said, " How is it that our road 
for the next four days' travel is more infested by Turk- 
mans than any other part of the way ? " In reply he 
pointed to the northeast, saying, " You see that moun- 
tain yonder; it is only ten or twelve farasangs distant; 
on the other side of it are the Turkmans." The 



x.] MODE OF STARTING A CARAVAN. 201 

Goklan Turkmans inhabit the country on the north 
of the mountains, and profess allegiance to the Shah ; 
but they are more friendly to the Takahs than they 
are to the Persians, and would not prevent the Takahs 
from passing the border if they could. The contour 
of the country is favourable to their raids. The passes 
are not difficult, and the country is not so rough as to 
prevent the use of horses. But after four days' jour- 
ney the road turns to the south, and the mountain 
ranges are higher, and egress is more difficult to those 
who would escape to the northward. 

As darkness and the hour of starting came on, the 
people went forward at will, and without order, crying 
in chorus, " Ya Ale ! Ya Ale ! " It was understood to 
be safe to go several miles beyond Khairabad without 
a guard. Three signals were given by firing the big 
gun ; the first signal to denote the time for feeding the 
horses, and for the evening meal ; the second to make 
ready the baggage ; and the third for the start. After 
these signals had been given, the horses were hitched 
to the gun carriage, and driven off at a gallop. This 
gait was kept up for the space of an hour in order to 
overtake the people who had gone forward. Then a 
halt was ordered that all might come up. The cavalry 
formed on either side the gun, the infantry advanced 
to the front, and there was a general gathering of forces 
and putting on of battle array, preparatory to passing 
a ravine or a hill, said to be a " Place of Fear." These 
manoeuvres were gone through with at intervals, during 



202 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

the greater part of the night, as the caravan approached 
the so-called Joie Khof. At one time it was reported 
that Turkmans had been seen. The caravan halted ; 
the gun was brought into position; the cavalrymen 
started off in every direction as scouts to see whence 
the attack would come. They rode in wide circuits 
and came with a mad run to the vicinity of the caravan. 
The women and children began to cry, and the men to 
shout. The scouts returned with the report that no 
Turkmans could be seen, and the train moved on. 

The first half of the night was whiled away by many 
persons in talking of the country, the Turkmans and 
their adventures ; of the attacks made, and battles 
fought here and there by these raiders ; of their mode 
of attack ; of their weapons, horses, food, country and 
religion. Some persons could speak from the experi- 
ences of captivity. To the uninitiated in that multi- 
tude, every ravine became a lurking place of a Turk- 
man, and every hill a breastwork above which the 
head of a Turkman is seen to be peering. The whole 
caravan seemed to have — as the whole country has — 
a nightmare, in which the chief actor is a Turkman 
armed with sabre, mounted on his well-known horse, 
and charging over every desolate plain and deserted 
valley. The pilgrims sang frequently. The footmen 
led the song - , the chief theme of which was the bless- 
ing of the prophets, who were "a hundred thousand." 
/The song often contained a short panegyric on some 
one in the company, but uniformly closed with an 



x.] MODE OF HALTING A CARAVAN. 203 

allusion to the place of the Saint, the prophet's throne, 
and the repeat of a salavaut, in which all the people 
united their voices, with the braying of donkeys, 
grunting of camels, barking of dogs, and crying of 
babies. 

In the intervals between the singing might be 
heard the trained voice of a dervish, ringing through 
the darkness, " Ya Ale ! Ya Ale ! Ya Ale ! Ya hak ! l 
Yahak! Ya hak ! hak!" But long time before the 
rising of the morning star, the singers ceased their 
singing, the crowd had lengthened into a wavering 
belt several miles long, now seen by the dim moon- 
light. Men were nodding and falling off the beasts 
on which they were riding, for at last drowsiness be- 
came stronger than the fear of the Turkman. The 
infantry had become cavalry, mounted on borrowed 
donkeys and mules. The voice of the dervish was 
heard after long intervals only, sounding like the 
ominous hoot of an owl, " Ya hoo ! 2 Ya hoo ! Ya 
hoo ! hoo ! hoo ! 00 ! " 

At early dawn, as the gun was dragged forward by 
the horses driven again at the gallop, there was a rush. 
Then the blast of a bugle, the signal for a halt, and 
the gathering of the pilgrims. The Azon 3 was now 
called, carpets and garments were cast upon the ground, 
and the people bowed to the ground and in reverent 
silence toward Mekkah. The summary of the days 

1 The name of God, also of a right, the alms of the poor. 

2 A name of God. 3 The call to prayer. 



204 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

work of the people who travel thus by night is soon 
told. It is sleep, eating and drinking. The last act 
might, however, be left out of the account in a land of 
cisterns and salt water. 

The village where the caravan halted is called Maia 
Mai. It consisted of a cluster of houses inclosed by 
a high wall, a caravansary, and a chapar khanah, and 
possessed the usual features of a Persian town, — a high 
mountain on one side, a plain, a rill of water flowing 
from the mountain, and a few fields on the plain, testi- 
fying by their verdure to the quantity and virtue of 
the rill. Near the gate of the village a dervish dis- 
coursed to a crowd of boys and girls concerning the 
prophets. The likenesses of these revered persons 
painted upon a large canvas were suspended on the 
wall of the village to the delight of the little folks. 
The second night seemed to be a repetition of the 
first in all essentials, except in the dawn succeeding, 
and disclosing another station in the desert. 

Meon Dasht is the name given to a station situated, 
as the name denotes, in the midst of the desert. It is 
also midway of Khairabad and Mazenan. Here the 
caravans coming from the east and the west meet and 
exchange escorts. A post-house, a telegraph office, 
two caravansaries, and a village of some ten houses 
and two reservoirs of water, make up the substance of 
the establishment. One of the caravansaries was 
erected in the time of Nadir Shah. The other, a new 
and well-constructed building, has been put up re- 



x.] ME ON DASHT— WATER SUPPLY. 205 

cently at the expense of a wealthy citizen of Tehran, 
and as an act of religious merit. 

Leaving the caravan as we came near the station, 
we were among the first to enter the gate, but the 
western bound caravan had already taken possession. 
My man Ibraheem was equal to the emergency, how- 
ever ; he is a native of the country, and trained in the 
customs of the land. He went in haste to the occu- 
pant of the best room, saying, — " Get out or take the 
sticks ;" and thereupon began to throw the man's lug- 
gage into the hall. When I protested against this 
conduct, he replied, in the hearing of the ejected man, 
" No matter, we will give him a present," a remark 
which seemed to fully compensate for ill treatment, if 
we may judge from his manner, and his declaration 
that the room is a gift, and he himself my sacrifice. 
The place is then swept, and the usual experiences of 
a manzil begin. The water supply of the station was 
not quite satisfactory to me. The cistern is in the 
open court, although covered by an arched roof of 
brick. One end is open, and the wind whirled dust 
and chaff upon the water. The descent to the water 
was by a short flight of steps, and that precious fluid 
was obtained by dipping into the cistern many kinds 
of vessels such as the pilgrims chose to use. These 
were jugs, copper basins, cooking utensils and men's 
hands. The water appeared to me to have an unnatu- 
ral consistency and to be well-salted. Near sunset I 
determined to explore the country lying outside of 



206 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

the walls ; so calling a young man belonging to the 
station, I said to him that I hear there is a well of 
water just beyond the walls. He causes disappoint- 
ment by saying that the well is connected with the 
cistern. His statement appeared to be true that no 
pure water could be found near the village. 

As we walked on toward a low ridge on the western 
side of the station, he said in substance, " It was just 
here that I was gathering bootah, 1 when a Turkman 
appeared near the point of the hill yonder, and, riding 
full tilt, he came up to me and said, ' You can work ? ' 
% 'Yes/ I said. 'Then come up here,' he instantly re- 
plied. Knowing resistance to be useless, I got on to 
the horse with him. Seizing my hands, he quickly 
tied them, and then we rode off at a rapid pace. When 
we had gone so far that he felt no fear of immediate 
pursuit, he ordered me to dismount. My hands were 
then tied at my back, and I was tied by a cord to the 
horse and t#ld that I must keep up. When the man 
saw that I was tired he gave me water from the bottle 
which he carried. At night he gave me a bit of bread 
as large as my hand. This was all the food I obtained 
during three days. By the time we had reached the 
first village he had become convinced of my powers 
of endurance. 

"My father," he continued, "trades with Turkmans, 
and is useful to them in negotiating for the redemption 
of captives. He can go anywhere among them. He 
1 This is the name of a species of thistle which is used for fuel. 



x.] ME ON DASHT— ALTITUDE. 207 

is often a guide. He paid a ransom for me. It was 
agreed that he should pay one hundred tomans and 
take me in my master's tent. The money was paid, 
and we started on our return. We had not gone half 
the way, however, when a band of Turkmans came 
upon us and carried us both off as captives to another 
village." 

The altitude of Meon Dasht above the ocean is four 
thousand four hundred feet. On the north are moun- 
tains, which appear to be of no great height, and which 
are separated by extended plains. There is a descent 
from this to the principal desert. Neither tree nor 
human habitation is to be seen in the vicinity of the 
station. The country from Shah Rud to Mazenan is 
considered unsafe for travellers ; yet it is passed over 
at all seasons by small parties of men. A few weeks 
later, on my return, I met the Persian postman. On 
finding no escort at the latter place, he crossed eleven 
farasangs of the way, having no other attendant than 
a small boy, and having in his charge a horse load of 
silver coins. This great change in the state of the 
country was attributed to the fact that the Turkmans 
were now at war with Russia, and having concentrated 
all their forces in the north, were very anxious to cul- 
tivate friendly relations with Persia. The caravan 
going east left the manzil at the rising of the moon. 
We had before us a march of six farasangs to Abasa- 
bad. The country has a continuous descent, and Abas- 
abad is three thousand two hundred feet above the 



208 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

ocean. At dawn we came to springs of water. Near 
these a battle was once fought between Persians and 
Turkmans. There is a small village midway the stage. 
The asafcetida plant and a few thorny tufts and a few 
flowers were the only plants growing by the way. 
The road follows the winding course of a deep ravine 
for a distance of two farasangs, and to within four miles 
of Abasabad. The chasm has been, in time past, a 
famous place for attacks of the Turkmans on caravans. 
From the southeastern extremity of the pass there is 
an extended view of the desert to the south and east. 
The next station may be seen at the foot of the 
descent, and close to a line of low hills which are 
connected by higher ridges with the main range of 
the Elburz. 

The name Abasabad means the abode of Abas. It 
is here given to a village in which captive Georgians 
were placed by Shah Abas the Great. The remnants 
of the colony now living in the walled enclosure are 
seventy families, or two hundred to three hundred 
souls. The account they give of themselves is that 
the Shah Abas brought from Tiflis sixty Georgian 
men and women, and put them in this citadel, having 
performed the farce of designating them kolams or 
guards. They were to be guards on the Turkman 
frontier. These people have the firman of the Shah 
in which he ordered an annual stipend to be given them 
of one hundred and thirty tomans, and one hundred 
and thirty kharwar of wheat. It is claimed that the 



x.] ABASABAD. 209 

payments are not now made according to the firman. 
A connaught for irrigating lands was constructed, and 
the king ordered that a portion of the water and of 
the wheat should belong to the head of every house- 
hold. 

The colony were forbidden the use of the Geor- 
gian tongue. By this restriction they were virtually 
prohibited the use of the ritual and service of the 
Georgian Church. In the third generation, through 
the influence of persecution, and owing to the demoral- 
izing effect of association with Mohammedans, the 
captives became Mohammedans in profession. The 
colony has suffered much from the raids of the Turk- 
mans. Their village has often been besieged by these 
nomads. The situation has brought them all the 
dangers of the border, and many of the people have 
been carried into captivity, and some have perished 
from famine. About fifteen families removed to Sad- 
rabad, three farasangs distant, where they all died of 
hunger. 

The only supply of water for the village is the con- 
naught constructed by the order of the Shah. The 
terms of the firman have given rise to the custom as a 
part of the marriage rite, of giving the bridegroom 
a cup of water from the connaught. The Georgian 
tongue has been in great part lost to the colony. In 
place of it they have a jargon composed of Georgian 
and Persian words, and they speak the Persian fluently. 
The condition of these captives appears deplorable 
14 



210 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

when considered from the standpoint of Christian civ- 
ilization. It is much more so, if that were possible, 
in their own estimation. Many of this people having 
lost all hope of redemption, have fully identified them- 
selves with Mohammedans. Their masters and allies 
have not permitted them, however, to be successful in 
this purpose, but perpetuate the stigma of their origin 
with the last trace of Georgian blood. 

The distance from Abasabad to Mazenan is five fara- 
sangs. The road passes over flat plains and stretches 
of the kabeer. On the left the mountains called 
Gaghatai form a rugged barrier very close to the high- 
way. On the south there is no limit to the expanse of 
desert, save the horizon. Six miles eastward of Abas- 
abad there is a spring of water which is famous with 
the people of this region on account of its having 
been a favourite resort of Turkmans. The bridge over 
the river called Abrashum is two or three miles be- 
yond the spring. I take this river to be the Kara Su, 
called also the Kal Mura. The stream is here motion- 
less, and its waters a dull red colour. It is this small 
creek which forms the extensive Kabeer on the south. 
We reached Sadrabad at the hour of morning prayer. 
The caravan halted. While the people were dispersed 
a train of camels passed by, and a youthful camel 
driver sung what appeared to be an extemporaneous 
song ; the sentiment translated into English is : " If 
you would sleep sweetly, go among the Turkmans : 
there is your rest." 



x.] VILLAGE OF MAZE NAN. 211 

Three miles east of Sadrabad the road gradually 
ascends higher ground, and passes over a level plain 
on which there are many villages and some cultiva- 
tion. The very large and deserted buildings to be 
seen in many directions on this plain are very con- 
spicuous objects, and have a singular appearance. 
There is a cluster of these structures about three miles 
northwest of Mazenan, and near the highway. There 
was here a village of these buildings. They appear to 
have been deserted for a long time, and are said to 
have been constructed at first by the Guebers. At a 
short distance they seem to be large blocks of several 
stories, having windows and doorways, and resembling 
the business houses of Europe. There is every indi- 
cation that they were fortified and built as citadels. 
From the roof of the post house in Mazenan I counted 
six of these large structures, all separated from one 
another by several miles. Mazenan is in a cultivated 
tract of land. It is a small village of miserable hovels. 
Near the village there are two caravansaries, and a 
post house, and telegraph office. From this place 
eastward the road is less frequented by Turkmans 
than the part now passed over by us. The escort 
of soldiers is therefore considered to be unneces- 
sary. The people composing the caravan could now 
consult their own convenience as to time of starting" 
and speed of travel. The caravan was therefore 
broken up into small squads of pilgrims and solitary 
stragglers. As there was no further reason for delay 



212 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

on our part, we left the station with the shagird and 
one servant. 

The next station, called Mahr, is six farasangs from 
Mazenan. The road ascends a valley coming from the 
east. After a ride of three farasangs we came to a 
reservoir of water. The valley is here dotted with 
little towers similar to those seen near Dah Mullah 
and in other places. In this vicinity a battle was 
fought some years ago, between Turkmans and Per- 
sians. Mahr is a small village, but apparently well 
supplied with water. The mountains on the north of 
it are high and precipitous. It is said that these hills 
are rich in ores, and that turquois have been found 
among them. The ride of five farasangs from Mahr 
to Sabzewar is along the valley, and over a dreary and 
uninhabited plain. 

When we were about four miles distant from the 
city, we came to an old minar. This minaret stands 
in a cultivated field. The rubbish of old walls is to 
be seen very near to the structure. The foundation of 
gravel and cement, which at first must have been 
below the surface, is now above ground to the height 
of some three feet, yet the heavy walls of burned 
brick stand firmly upon it without fracture. The 
gravel cement has been gradually worn, and the super- 
structure projects several inches over the base of 
cement. The column is circular, and within it there 
is a flight of stairs to the top of the minaret. The 
doorway to the stairs has been filled up with brick, so 



x.] SABZE WAR— POPULATION. 213 

as to prevent the ascent of the steps by any one. This 
appeared to be a wise precaution when we looked at 
the apparently frail foundation. This minar resembles 
those seen in Damgan, and it may reasonably be re- 
ferred to the same period. We rode from the minar 
to Sabzewar in forty minutes. 

The name of this city means abounding in verdure. 
It is a walled town and is conjectured to contain a 
population of ten or fifteen thousand souls. Judging 
from the extent of the buildings, I should say that 
there cannot be more than ten thousand inhabitants. 
The ruins called the Ark cover a large tract of land. 
The town has a busy aspect, and is one of the best 
cities of northern Khorasan. Cotton and silk are 
produced in the country adjacent. The chief manu- 
factures of the place are a coarse cotton cloth called 
kadak, and vessels of copper. The people are Mo- 
hammedans, except a few Armenians attracted hither 
by the opportunity to purchase silk and cotton in ex- 
change for other commodities. One of the Armenians 
warned me against going to Mashhad and described 
it as a dangerous place for a Christian to go to. I suf- 
fered no harm in Mashhad, but this poor fellow was 
knocked off his mule, and his throat cut, as he was 
going by night, and by caravan, to Mahr. It is sup- 
posed that he fell asleep while riding, that the mule 
lagged behind the train, and that the man was then 
killed for the money which he carried on his person. 
The followers of the Bab are said to be very many in 



214 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

this city and its vicinity. Two missionaries of this 
sect called upon us at the post house. One of them 
claimed to have made a hundred converts during the 
brief period of his secret revival efforts in the town. 
He told us that he had married the daughter of a 
Georgian captive. It is reported that there are in the 
villages quite a number of Georgian people. Leav- 
ing Sabzewar at dawn we rode a distance of six fara- 
sangs to Zafaran in two hours and fifteen minutes. 
The word Saffron will be recognized in the name of 
this station. In the ride to Shore Aub, we crossed a 
spur of the mountain. We noticed many spring flowers 
by the wayside. The poppy was so abundant that in 
many places the desert seemed to be covered with a 
crimson carpet. I picked up a large chalcedony, and 
we met little boys who were carrying nightingales to 
market. 

The station Shore Aub has two caravansaries and a 
cistern of water. One caravansary was built by the 
Mustofe of Mashhad, for the benefit of pilgrims. As 
no horses could be obtained here we were obliged to 
ride three farasangs farther, and a little off the main 
road to the place called Cheman, where the horses 
were now turned loose to graze. While we were wait- 
ing in the station a number of people were gathered 
about one of the pilgrims, a woman, who was lying on 
the ground and appeared to be dying. The people did 
not seem to mind the situation very much ; but the 
husband remarked to me that should his wife die there 



x.] NISHAPOOR. 215 

was this consolation that as Mashhad is now near, she 
will be buried near the saint and in holy ground. The 
poor woman herself had made the toilsome journey 
with this thought in mind. 

The main road to Nishapoor crosses the plain. A 
ride of several miles over ground, on which there was 
no path, or other evidence of travel, brought us to an 
old pike, which is said to have been part of the old 
road to the province of Mazandaran. The stones were 
yet abundant in a kabeer which is near the grazing 
ground. On reaching the Cheman the shagird went 
out to catch as many horses as were needed. The 
meadow covered an extensive tract of country and 
contained fresh water springs. The water of one of 
these was remarkably clear and cold. On riding a 
mile eastward of this place we came to a river flowing 
southward. The channel appeared to be near one 
hundred feet wide, and the water came up to the saddle 
girths. The only name which the post boy knew for 
this stream was rud khanah, or the river. A ride of 
about one hour brought us to a well-tilled part of the 
plain and to the environs of Nishapoor. 

The plain of this name is one of the most fertile in 
Persia, and might now seem to justify the extravagant 
praise of the saying that — " It is watered by ten thou- 
sand streams flowing from ten thousand springs." The 
name, according to Persian lexicographers, means the 
city of Shapoor, and it is often so written. The sub- 
urbs are broken walls and half-tilled fields and dreary 



216 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [x. 

cemeteries. Passing these we entered the chapar 
khanah which is just without the gate on the south 
side of the city. Within the walls there are about ten 
thousand people. The streets are narrow and filthy, 
and the walls are going to ruin. The ancient city 
which gave the present name to the plain and town is 
believed to have been one of the most ancient of the 
world. Persian writers make the founding of the city 
to be cotemporaneous with the Peeshdadian dynasty 
and the fabulous kings. The place has figured as the 
seat of royalty from the days of the Deevband until the 
reign of Ashmed, Shah Abd Allah the Afghan. The 
large mounds a short distance east of the present town 
favour the tradition that the first city was located here. 
Nishapoor has been noted for its schools of phil- 
osophy, and of the sect of the Ismaelites. We have 
related that Hassan Saba, the founder of the sect of 
the Assassins, was a student here. This place is a 
point of departure for the mines of turquois, which 
are from nine to eleven farasangs distant. These, I 
believe, are the only turquoise mines in the world. I 
am told that these precious stones are found in other 
localities in these mountains ; if so, it is true, however, 
that no other mines have been opened. These are 
very old mines, and were worked with much more skill 
in former ages than they now are. The mines are 
farmed out by the Shah, and the parties working them 
are not interested to make any substantial improve- 
ments in the way of shafts and supports, and other 



x.] PERSIAN SERPENT CHARMER. 217 

works. The presence of solid masonry in some parts 
gives evidence of the greater care exercised in the 
times when the working was carried on by Greeks or 
Romans. The miners are carefully examined as they 
leave the mine every day, so that none of the stones 
may be stolen. The best stones are very valuable. 
Their value depends upon perfection of colour and 
freedom from flaw and fracture. An experienced eye 
will detect the fine blue colour which belongs to the 
best gems. 

On the east of the town, and without the gate, there 
is a large caravansary. Many pilgrims were resting 
here during the heat of the day. A Persian who fol- 
lowed the caravan exhibited a trained scorpion and 
serpents. He kept a black scorpion in a little box, 
which he placed upon a cloth, and a small boy blew a 
pipe for the purpose of calling the reptile from the box. 
I perceived that the scorpion had been made harmless 
by having had the sting extracted. It is the testimony 
of natives of the country that the serpents exhibited 
by the serpent charmers are made harmless by the 
extraction of the fangs. The serpents possessed by 
this man were supposed to have been subjected to this 
treatment. 



CHAPTER XL 

Leave Nishapoor — Kadam Gah — Torook — Transportation of dead bodies 
— The country about Mashhad — Revenues of the Shrine — Salutations 
of the Pilgrims — Aspect of the City — Burial Place of Haroun al 
Rasheed — The Harem — Its Construction and Decoration — Expendi- 
ture of Funds — Miracles — Jins or Demons — Power of the Mullahs — 
Sacred Character of the Asylum — Number of Pilgrims — Massacre of 
Jews and their Conversion to Islam — The Synagogue Tablet — Char- 
acter and Occupation of the Jews — The Country to Sarakhs — The 
Turkmans in Mashhad — Natural Resources of this Section of the 
Country — Importance of Mashhad — Climate and Health — Country 
of the Turkmans — Relative Strength of the Tribes — The Takahs as 
Compared with other Tribes — Country inhabited by Takahs — Present 
Town of Merv — Gaghatai — Superstition and Jewish Exorcists — Gov- 
ernment and Morals — Turkman Horses — Kizil Bashees — Delegation 
of Turkmans in Tehran — Ravages of the Russian Border and the 
Caspian Coast by Turkmans — The Situation in 1880 — Advance of 
Russians and the Situation in 1885 — The Present and Prospective 
Railway to Panj Dah — To the Indus — Effect on Persia. 

Leaving Nishapoor near sunset, we rode six farasangs 
to Kadam Gah. This stage is over the eastern part 
of the plain of Nishapoor. There are here also, as on 
the west of that city, indications of fertility and of 
former prosperity. The name Kadam Gah means 
threshold, or the place of the foot. Tradition has it 
that Imam Reza lodged here, when on his way to Tus. 
There is now a garden and a mosque to mark the 
218 



xi.] KADAM GAH. 219 

place where the saint reposed. A village and a citadel 
occupy an adjacent hill. A rill oflimpid water ripples 
down the mountain side, and passes near the post 
house. Its entire course is set with sturdy trees, which 
show, by their heavy tops, the course of the stream 
after its waters have become invisible in the desert 
below. The shade of these trees was appropriated by 
the pilgrims, and their carpets were spread under the 
boughs. Here they smoked, and ate, and slept. 

We had ridden a good part of the night ; yet we 
rested here but a short time, and hastened on, that we 
might enter the gates of the " Holy City" before night, 
and having before us a ride of thirteen farasangs, or 
about fifty miles. No horses were to be had in the 
station of Shareefabad, as they had been sent to Torook, 
one farasang beyond the post-house, where there are 
pastures. It was necessary therefore to go on to that 
place. On the way we passed a human corpse which 
was being borne to Mashhad for interment. This 
one was placed in a rough-made bier. This circum- 
stance indicated that it had not been brought a great 
way. The transportation of dead bodies to the shrines 
is quite a business. The corpses are in most cases 
carefully wrapped in cotton cloth ; over this is folded a 
namad, and the whole body is then firmly bound with 
ropes. The burden is then committed to a muleteer, 
who, for a consideration, agrees to bear it to the shrine 
designated. He may, however, cast the body into 
some pit, or solitary place, where the wolves and 



220 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

jackals soon dispose of it. It is frequently the case 
that interments are made with a view to taking up, 
and removing the remains to the shrine at some sub- 
sequent date. 

The caravansary of Torook is old and unoccupied. 
The distance hence to Mashhad is five farasangs, and 
the highway passes over a rough mountain region for 
some three farasangs of the first part of the way. The 
more rugged parts of the road have been greatly im- 
proved by the gratuity and zeal of the Sadr Azam. 
In the worst place a slab of stone has been set up as a 
memorial of this officer of the government, and of 
his generous act in improving the road for the benefit 
of the pilgrims. This was plainly an act in which 
religious zeal and personal ambition were both grati- 
fied. The pilgrims, however, appeared to perceive the 
merit of the deed only, and prayed for blessings to 
descend on the Shah and his minister of state. Men 
and women toiled along the stony and steep ascent, 
sustained by the speedy realization of their hopes in 
seeing the domes and minarets of the sacred city. 
One woman, who with others trudged along on foot, 
exclaimed to her companions, — " I am willing to go 
on foot and to live on water if I may but see Reza." 
From the summit of the pass and on the descent of 
the northern slope, there is an extended view of the 
valley of the Kashaf Rud, and beyond it and east- 
ward, as that stream flows toward the Tejend, of which 
it is a tributary. 



XI.] APPROACH TO MASHHAD. 221 

The city of Mashhad lay far below us. The gold- 
tiled dome and miliars of the mosque of Imam Reza 
were the only prominent objects to be seen in the 
large cluster of dull-brown walls and roofs of the city 
of Mashhad. The valley appeared to be some fifteen 
or twenty miles wide, and its general course from north- 
west to southeast. In every quarter there appeared a 
succession of mountain ranges. On the right hand 
were mountains on the way to Herat. On the north 
and east were to be seen landmarks on the road to 
Sarakhs. As we approached the city every object 
seemed to be consecrated to the great Sheah saint 
buried there. The caravansaries, the villages, the 
fields and the fountains belong to him. The revenue 
derived from these possessions is consecrated to the 
support of the mullahs, the schools, the police, the 
pilgrims, and to the repairs of the sacred buildings. 
The salutations of the returning pilgrims whom we 
met were : " An interest in your prayers." " May your 
prayers be heard." In reply to which our men said : 
" May your place not be vacant." As we came near 
the gate a strong wind drove clouds of dust upon us, 
which for a time obscured every object. The walls 
and gateways and dwellings of the city were soon dis- 
cerned to be painfully earthy rather than celestial, and 
the ground about the city seemed to be full of dead 
men's bones, if the graves and gravestones could be 
taken as evidence. Entering the dilapidated gateway 
opening on the Shareefabad road, we passed through 



222 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

narrow and dirty streets to near the centre of the 
city. 

In the reign of the Khalafahs of Bagdad, and in the 
time of the Sultans, the Begs and Shahs, the principal 
city and capital of this region was Tus. It was sit- 
uated about sixteen miles north of the present capital 
of Khorasan. The site is well known, but contains 
the fragment of an old tower as the only remains of 
the once famous capital. In the time of Haroun al 
Rasheed there was at this place which we have but 
just now entered, a small village called Sanabad. 
The only structure for which it was noted was an old 
kalah or tower, which tradition refers to the time of 
the fire worshippers. The Khalafah Rasheed, when 
inspecting his affairs in Khorasan, died in Tus, and his 
body was interred in the tower at Sanabad. Mah- 
moon, the son and successor of Rasheed, sent Reza, 
the eighth Imam of the hous>s of Ale, to the government 
of Tus. He is said to have been impelled to this act 
as a stroke of policy to reconcile the Aleites to him- 
self. Subsequently the suspicions of Mahmoon were 
excited against the Imam, and the Khalafah caused 
him to be poisoned. Some writers relate that the 
poison was administered in the capital. Others say 
that Reza was ordered to depart to Madenah, and had 
proceeded no further on his return than to Sanabad, 
when the messenger of the Khalafah overtook him 
and made known the will of his royal master. The 
Imam is represented as having calmly submitted to 



XI.] MASHHAD— MEANING OE 223 

the decree. His body was buried in the tower of San- 
abad, and near the grave of Rasheed, so that " The 
feet of the saint were toward the head of the Khala- 
fah." With the growth of the sect of the twelve 
Imams the grave became the object of veneration, and, 
in course of time, pretentious buildings were erected 
above it. It is claimed that the original tower yet re- 
mains, but as to the origin and progress of the struc- 
tures of early date, Persian writers do not agree. 

The name Mashhad means the place of martyrdom. 
It is given to quite all places where Mohammedans 
were martyred. It is usually applied especially to 
such places when the slain are interred where they 
fell. The term was used of Sanabad, and in time the 
use of it superseded that of the old name. This place 
is often called Khorasan, a name which has been in 
use since this city became the capital of the province 
of that name. The city of Mashhad is in the form of 
a square. A broad avenue runs in an east and west 
direction through the heart of the city, and from wall 
to wall. A canal flows through the middle of this 
avenue. Near the centre of the city and of this street 
are the many buildings called Imam Reza. 

I walked from the western side of the city, and 
along this street going east, until further progress was 
prevented by a barrier. An arch of brick spanned 
the centre of the avenue. Under it was a pole and a 
picket gate, where guards were stationed. There is 
east of this the wall of the Sahn. The space between the 



224 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

outer arch and the wall of the Sahn is called the Bast. 
The term is used to denote the point within which 
sanctuary is given. All sorts of offenders, except 
apostates from Islam, are secure from arrest and from 
the avenger of blood, when once they have passed the 
outer barrier. In the centre of the wall there is' a 
high-arched gateway, through which entrance is had 
to the great sahn or court of the mosque. A minaret 
stands on either side of the Sahn. On the north side 
of this court there is an arched way called an awan. 
It is a corridor leading to the tower in which the true 
shrine is placed. This tower is a circular structure, 
and is called the Harem, meaning here the inner place. 
These doorways are covered with gold- enameled tiles. 
The tiles in the awan of Nadir Shah have plating to 
the value of about seven tomans each. On the eastern 
side of this old sahn there is a like arrangement of a 
bast and gateway. On the northeast there is a new 
sahn. It was constructed at the expense of Azid al 
Mulk. The tiles in the awan of this court are said 
to contain in the enamel of each tile gold, to the value 
of about three tomans. The outer surface of the 
dome of the Harem is covered with gold-enameled 
tiles, as is also the exterior of the two minarets. The 
tiling is carried down the sides of these to the roof of 
the mosque. 

As I was not willing to put on the disguise neces- 
sary to make entrance to the interior possible, I em- 
ployed a Persian artist to go and sketch the Harem. 



XL] THE HAREM. 225 

In the course of a few days he gave me a pencil 
sketch. This assured me that he could make a fair 
picture, and I therefore engaged him to paint a second 
picture to be forwarded to me at Tehran. However, 
it did not come to hand until after several months. I 
learned that the picture had been completed, and re- 
ported to the superintendent of the shrine, an officer 
of the government. He sent for it, and being greatly- 
pleased with it, gave the artist a liberal present and a 
pension, and sent the painting to the king. After this 
the artist received several orders for copies of the pic- 
ture, and in his prosperity seemed to forget the first 
contract. However, in time, the artist was prevailed 
upon to fulfill his agreement, after the first orders had 
been filled. The picture is a good one and much 
labour has been put upon it. The dimensions and par- 
ticulars given below concerning the Harem were given 
to me by the artist, and were verified by the statements 
of other Mohammedans. 

The room called the Harem is ten Persian zarhs, 
or thirty-four feet square. From the floor to the apex 
of the dome is twenty-two and a half zarhs or near 
seventy-seven feet. The floor is of marble tiles and 
covered with a Persian carpet. A wainscoting of 
kashee protects the lower walls. The lowest part of 
this is of tiles made in the reign of Shah Abas, and is 
called izarah. The belts of tiles bearing inscriptions, 
or raised letters, are called katebah. From the top- 
most katebah to the top of the dome, the vault of the 
15 



226 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

dome and the walls are covered with looking glass, cut 
in small bits, and set in plaster. The coverings of the 
tomb are each called a zerah. Of these there are three. 
One of silver, one of iron, and the third of steel. 
These have been changed in the course of years ; for 
early writers mention an inner zerah of gold. The 
door of the zerah is fastened with a padlock of gold. 
The base of the zerah is solid silver. The room has 
three doors. One is covered with a cashmere shawl, 
the fringes of which are made of pearls. Another 
door is covered with gold plate set with precious stones. 
The whole is said to have been the gift of the late 
treasurer of the Shah. There is reported to be also a 
marble sarcophagus under the zerah. 

The mustofe said that the revenue of the shrine is 
forty thousand tomans, equivalent to near sixteen thou- 
sand pounds sterling. This does not appear to be a 
very large sum ; but, as it is used by Persians, repre- 
sents a greater value than the amount does in pounds. 
The guards of the establishment are three hundred. 
Several schools and a hospital derive support from the 
revenue of the shrine. More than six hundred pounds 
of rice are cooked daily for the people employed in 
the shrine, and for the pilgrims who may need it. 
There is a continued effort on the part of the persons 
controlling the shrine to make the place famous for 
miracles. It is related that a man came to the tomb 
desiring money, for he was very poor and greatly 
troubled. After several days of prayer he was re- 



XL] THE SHRINE— MIRACLES. 227 

warded by seeing a hand put through the open work 
of the zerah, which presented to him a purse. The 
man ran to the sahn and proclaimed the miracle. The 
people immediately tore all his clothing off him, and 
into bits, in their anxiety to obtain a memento of the 
miracle, and a talisman. 

The steel of which the outer zerah is made was ex- 
humed in nuggets within the sahn, at a place indicated 
by the oracle. Objects appeared on the outside of the 
highest dome of the mosque, which I learned were 
bundles of grass and flowers put in this place where 
they could be reached with difficulty by a hand thrust 
through a small window in the dome. The bits of 
grass are valued by the people as talismans and reme- 
dies for disease. 

It is related of one of the Shahs that on visiting the 
shrine he saw there a blind man. The king inquired 
how long a time he had been here seeking the recovery 
of his sight. The man replied, " Ten years." Then, 
said the king, " You must be a very bad man ; I there- 
fore give you until morning an opportunity for prayer. 
If by that time the saint has not granted your request, 
I will take your head off." It is said that Reza was 
moved with pity for the blind man, and restored his 
sight that very night, and in the morning the Shah 
gave to him a valuable present. When a miracle 
occurs, the trumpets are blown and the drums are 
beat. 

The mustofe called upon me, and among the first 



228 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

questions put by him was this : " Do you believe in 
jins? Have you any in your country?" This word 
jin is used in Persia to denote a certain class of demons. 
In reply I did not stop to explain the terms, but took 
his question in the evident intent of it, and replied that 
I did not believe in them. He then said, with great 
sincerity, " We have jins here." He then gave a par- 
ticular description of them in answer to my question 
what they might be. " They are," he said, " little fel- 
lows, about so high," — putting his hand about three 
feet above the floor, — " and they have tails." I asked : 
" Have you seen these creatures ? " He replied : " No ; 
I have not seen their bodies, but I have heard their 
voices. The mullahs of Reza have power," he con- 
tinued, "to bring them up, and the jins are under the 
control of the mullahs. They sometimes enter rooms 
in a mysterious way, and strangle people. Look out 
for jins!' I told him that the priests seemed to be 
familiar with spirits, and that there are people in 
America who professed to be able to bring up the dead 
and to talk with them. He immediately replied: 
" The mullahs of Reza do that." He also said : " I 
would like to get a talisman that would repel the jins." 
Demoniacal arts and sham miracles have been prac- 
tised here to such extent that the inhabitants of the 
city have come to realize the desperate character of the 
persons connected with the shrine. Quite every per- 
son with whom I conversed on the subject, voluntarily 
and in strong terms condemned the frauds practised, 



XL] THE SHRINE A REFUGE. 229 

and seemed to believe the mullahs capable of doing 
any amount of evil. The secular power is wholly 
subservient to the religious. A few weeks before our 
arrival the mullahs had caused a Bab to be killed. At 
another time they incited a mob to destroy the house 
of a prince who had the temerity to say that he would 
drink wine in spite of the prohibition of the mullahs. 

The asylum afforded by this shrine is intended to be 
commensurate with the greatness of the Imam. It is 
said that the Shah himself would not dare to take from 
the sanctuary a criminal who may have taken refuge 
there. It is a striking feature of the Persian custom 
of asylum that even Christians, Jews, and Guebers are 
allowed asylums where, under ordinary circumstances, 
no non-Mussulman is permitted to enter. The prac- 
tice is intended to denote the sacredness of the shrines 
and is not an expedient for showing mercy to the in- 
fidels. The pilgrims to Reza in the course of the year 
are very many. But there is no means by which the 
exact number can be known. The greater part of 
these are fanatics. Many are pleasure seekers and 
religious tramps. The dervishes are numerous, and 
many of them seek to excite religious fervour and 
fanaticism. 

The shrine of Imam Reza is the most sacred and 
celebrated in Persia. The regions to be travelled over 
to reach it are among the most dangerous for the 
stranger and the traveller. Yet the highways are filled 
with pilgrims, many of whom are women who have 



230 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

toiled over desert and long ways, in many weary nights, 
in the hope of seeing the famed splendour of the mau- 
soleum, and of kissing the silver bars which guard 
the sacred tomb. We cannot understand, therefore, 
the feelings with which these weary ones look down 
from the last mountain upon the golden dome and 
minarets which signal the end of their toil, and the 
storehouse of talismans, miraculous cures, and religious 
merit sufficient to wipe out years of sin both past and 
future. The dead are brought from every quarter and 
buried within or without the city, as may happen to be 
their fortune. The courts of the mausoleum and the 
burial ground within the city contain the remains of 
some of the most famous kings and princes of the 
kingdom. The city is entirely compassed by grave- 
yards. The northern side seems to have the least 
number of graves. The most of the graves are con- 
spicuous for the slabs or blocks of soapstone set above 
them. 

The city of Mashhad contains about sixty thousand 
souls permanent residents. All of these are Moham- 
medans, except about three hundred families of Jews. 
To this number must be added a transient population 
of pilgrims. The Jews are called Jadeed, or new ones, 
in reference to their recent conversion to Islam. Ac- 
cording to the tradition of the colony, they are the 
posterity of a company of Jews who were removed 
from Casveen to this place by Nadr Shah. 

About 1840 the mullahs of Mashhad resolved that 



XL] JEWS BECOME MOHAMMEDANS. 231 

by some means the Jews resident in that city should 
be converted to the faith of Islam. It was considered 
a dishonour to the holy city and to the shrine of Reza 
that the adherents of Judaism should be permitted to 
live in the city. In the days of Moharam, commem- 
orative of the death of the first Imams, the report was 
circulated that the Jews had killed a dog in derision of 
the sacred rites of the Sheahs. The fact appears to 
be that a Jew suffered from a sore hand, and a Moham- 
medan doctor being called, he advised that the hand 
be laid upon the warm flesh of a recently slain dog. 
The advice was followed, for this remedy is not an un- 
common prescription. The incident, either by design 
or by accident, served the mullahs as a pretext to ex- 
cite the populace against the Jews. The mob rushed 
to the Jewish quarter, and after massacring some 
thirty-five of the Jews, and tearing down some of their 
houses, a mullah proposed that the alternative of be- 
coming Mohammedans or of extermination should be 
offered. The Jews chose the former, and the elders 
of the colony made profession for their co-religionists. 
Since that time the Jews of Mashhad have been os- 
tensibly Mohammedans, and dare not profess any 
other faith. Some of the colony removed to Herat, 
where they enjoy their own religious faith, and others 
of them went to Merv. 

One of the most influential Jews of this city is 
Benyamin. He is a British subject, and receives a 
pension from the British government. This honour 



232 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

was bestowed upon him in consideration of services 
rendered by his father in the time of the war waged 
by the British in Afghanistan. Many of the English 
were treacherously massacred. Two English officers 
were secreted* by the Jew in Kabul and assisted to 
effect their escape. Efforts were now made to reward 
their deliverer; but he had been detected and put to 
death by the Afghans. On investigation it was learned 
that his young son had been taken to Mashhad. A 
guardian was appointed for the child, he, by permis- 
sion of the Shah, having been made a British subject, 
and a pension of seventy-five rupees a month has ever 
since been paid to him. Benyamin is now a man in 
middle life. He seemed to be well disposed, and de- 
sirous that his children should receive an English 
education. 

The synagogues of Mashhad are now in ruins. I 
was told that on the walls of one, a tablet bearing the 
names of the massacred had been placed. The Jews 
dare not openly hold religious worship after the forms 
of the synagogue. Some of them, however, meet in 
secret for reading the scriptures and other services. 
The change of religion in their case seemed to be 
outward only. They are well acquainted with the 
Persian language, and are useful to the Mohammed- 
ans as go-betweens with Turkmans and Afghans, and 
as doctors, magicians and exorcists and merchants. 
In such capacity they travel to Merv, Bokhara and 
Herat. Being persecuted by the Persians, they be- 



xi.] MASHHAD— NATURAL RESOURCES. 233 

come, on that account, more acceptable to the Sunees 
of Central Asia. This acceptableness to the Sunee 
makes them all the more available to the Sheahs. 

Mashhad is about two hundred miles from Merv, 
and but a little more than this distance from Herat. 1 It 
is really the frontier town, although the Shah claims 
territory to Sarakhs and the Tejend River. The 
country east of this is often in the possession of the 
Turkmans, so that it frequently happens that there is 
no communication with Sarakhs by caravan. The 
Turkmans living in, or frequenting Mashhad, are 
chiefly of the Takah tribe. The people of this tribe 
who live in the city are employed in trade, or were 
captives. Some are employed in conducting caravans 
to Merv and to Bokhara. These men were ready for 
a consideration to conduct us safely to Bokhara. 
When asked what assurance could be given of pro- 
tection, the chief man replied : " My brother lives in 
Merv, and it is known that if any harm were to be 
done to me or my caravan he would certainly re- 
taliate." 

Much has been said with reference to the natural re- 
sources of this part of Khorasan. If report be true, 
copper, coal and iron abound. The precious metals 
have been found. There is a hill, less than a farasang 
distant from the city, called Kuhe Sang, which yields 
gold ore, and another hill whence silver is obtained; 

1 By the shorter route. In a straight line the distance is less, being 
about one hundred and sixty and one hundred and eighty-five miles. 



234 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

but the quantity of gold and silver produced does 
not pay the cost of working the mine. Soapstone 
and alabaster are abundant. From the former many 
vessels are turned, as also from the alabaster. A beau- 
tiful pink alabaster is brought from near Herat. Mash- 
had is not so large as the extent of its walls might 
lead one to think. Much of the land enclosed is in 
gardens, and some near the walls is vacant. Consid- 
erable farming is done on the land just outside the 
walls. I noticed fields of poppies. The traffic in 
opium has been very profitable in some parts of Khor- 
asan. The potteries produce a coarse earthenware 
and tiles. The city has six gates. The canal has a 
stream of water which is no more than from three to 
five feet wide. The shrine of Reza possesses a library 
which is said to contain many manuscripts and old 
books in Persian and in Arabic. The mosque called 
Johare Shahud was constructed by the wife of Ti- 
mour, a Georgian princess. 

Soon after entering Mashhad I called upon the gov- 
ernor of the province, a brother of the reigning Shah. 
His palace appeared to be in a dilapidated condition. 
It is situated in the western part of the town, and has 
extensive gardens connected with it. It was arranged 
that I should see him after the dispersion of the crowd 
of people usually gathered in the dewan khanah. His 
Excellency occupied a chair on a low platform at the 
upper end of the room. He usually sits upon a divan 
or rug spread on the platform. On the rug at his 



xi.] MASH HAD— IMPORTANCE OF 235 

left hand sat a sayed, and below him the mustofe. The 
prince appeared to be a man of about forty years of 
age. He is rather below medium stature, and very 
stout and corpulent. He possesses the features of the 
Kajars. His address is marked by courteousness and 
good nature. He was greatly interested in the news 
of the war then waged by Russia and Turkey. He 
received telegrams from Tehran, which he read to me, 
and repeated some of the wild reports then in circula- 
tion concerning the movements of the British forces 
in Beloochistan. He appeared to believe the story 
that fifty thousand troops had advanced into Afghan- 
istan, preparatory to a move on Merv. 

The importance of Mashhad is readily understood 
by those persons who have a knowledge of the country 
tributary to it During many centuries important 
cities have flourished in this region, and the past of the 
country gives good ground upon which to predict the 
probable future of this district. The cities of Nisha- 
poor, Tus and Mashhad testify to the advantages of 
which they have been the most available centres. The 
climate of Mashhad is more than usually healthful, if 
we may judge from the mortality of the city. This is 
very small considering the large number of pilgrims 
assembled here, the lack of all sanitary measures, and 
the large number of dead interred in the vicinity of 
the place. The average temperature of this city is 
lower than in Tehran. The altitude and latitude of 
the two places are nearly the same, yet Mashhad is 



236 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

cooler than the capital in the summer season. This 
fact is to be attributed to the position of the city on 
the northern slope of the mountains, so that it is in 
good measure protected from the winds which blow 
over the desert of Khorasan. 

A more particular account of the Turkmans than 
has been given on the preceding pages seems to be 
called for. The relations of these nomads to Persia 
form a subject of general interest, and some knowledge 
of the subject is essential to an understanding of the 
present and future of Northeastern Persia. The sub- 
ject is one of special interest at this time, owing to the 
great changes effected in the country inhabited by the 
Turkmans, through the advance of the Russian forces 
toward Afghanistan, and the prospective and permanent 
occupation of the whole Turkman country by the Rus- 
sians. The years of my stay in Persia cover the period 
of this transition. It is the greatest change in its pro- 
spective results and present effects that has ever taken 
place in Turkistan. The influence of the change reaches 
to Afghanistan and compels a change in the material and 
whole condition of the people of that distracted country. 

In Turkistan anarchy is giving place to a settled 
government ; the alaman or chapoo, and slave markets 
for the sale of white captives, are becoming incidents 
of the past, and henceforth will be known in history 
only. The following statements are made upon in- 
formation obtained chiefly by conversation with Turk- 
mans and Persians. 



xi.] TURKMANS— DIFFERENT TRIBES OF 237 

The name Turkman is supposed to be derived from 
the word Turk, and the verb ma,7i, I am, and hence 
means, I am a Turk. The name is then obtained from 
the expression by which these people called themselves 
when they first appeared in these regions. All that 
country between the Ural Sea on the north, the river 
Gorgan and the mountains called Attak on the south, 
the Caspian Sea on the west, and the Oxus River on 
the east, together with the country east of and con- 
tiguous to that river, is inhabited by several tribes of 
Turkmans. The country between the Tejend and 
Bokhara, as far south as to the border of Afghanistan, 
is also to be included in their possessions. These 
tribes have kept up an interminable warfare upon one 
another, and upon the countries adjacent to them. 
Through this internal strife marked changes have been 
made in the comparative strength of the tribes. At 
this time it is conceded that the Takah are the most 
powerful. These and the Goklan, a few Yomuts and 
the Salor tribe, hold the entire country lying contigu- 
ous to the border of Persia. The Yomuts and Gok- 
lans inhabit the banks of the Gorgan River. The 
Salor possess a small tract of land near the Tejend 
and Afghanistan. The more numerous Takahs in- 
habit the country between the Goklan and Salor, hav- 
ing Merv and the Kara Koom and the Domine Kuh 
country. No great dependence can be placed upon 
the statements of these people as to their strength, for 
I have not found any two Turkmans or two Europeans 



238 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

who agree in their statements as to the number of 
tents in any one tribe. I have before me the estimates 
made by two European writers, each one claiming to 
be the result of careful investigation made in the Turk- 
man country itself, and said by the author to be re- 
liable ; but one makes the number of the tents of the 
Takahs, after a reduction of one-third of the figures 
given by natives, to be sixty thousand, and the other 
writer makes the number seventy-five thousand tents. 
Some of the khans of the Takahs said to me that the 
number of their tents could not be safely estimated at 
more than forty thousand. 

The power of the Goklan and Salor tribes is so 
much broken, and they are so numerically weak, as 
to form no very important factor in the affairs of Turk- 
istan and Persia. It is with the Takahs that Persians 
have most to do. The country inhabited by them is 
the best in Turkistan. It has the Tejend and the Morgh 
Aub rivers as sources of fertility. The centre of this 
region is the place called Merv. Although there is 
no city now of that name, yet it is spoken of as such 
owing to the fact that it was in former centuries a 
flourishing city, and in most of the years past there 
has been a village or cluster of huts and tents here. It 
is one of the most ancient sites known in Persian his- 
tory, for it figures as one of the stations occupied by 
the earlier Arians in their journeys toward the west. 
It was an important provincial town in the times of 
the Khalafahs, and subsequently became a capital of 



xi.] TURKMANS— LANGUAGE OF 239 

a dynasty of kings who ruled a large part of Persia. 
It was destroyed by the Moguls, but was rebuilt, and 
has often, since then, suffered the fortunes of war. 
The present place of that name is composed of a few 
huts near the fort called Kalah Kaushid Khan. It is 
on a branch of the Morgh Aub, and is noted as the 
centre of one part of the Takah tribe, who for this 
reason are known as Merv Turkmans. The other 
division of this tribe has its tents in the district of 
Ahal. This place is northwest of Merv, and on the 
Domine Kuh, and has Askabad for a central point. It 
is claimed that the latter country was the home of 
the Parthians. Nissa, near Askabad, is supposed to 
represent the ancient Nissas, whence were derived the 
famous breed of Nisaean horses. 

The Turkmans have no fixed habitations, but dwell, 
for the most part, in frail huts of wood called alotchee. 
These are light and portable, and the sides are covered 
with a coarse felt. Ruder structures, however, are 
used, and a screen of felt is often a substitute for an 
alotchee. The language spoken by these nomads is 
of the same family as that called Turkish. The 
Takah dialect is allied closely to that of the Osmanlee, 
Persian-Turkish and to the Osbeg. There are marked 
tribal distinctions and provincialisms. The chief 
characteristics of the speech of the Takahs are, — the 
absence of Persian and Arabic words ; the sound of 
certain letters ; a peculiar use of particles, and a vo- 
cabulary not used by other tribes. This speech is 



240 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

commonly called Gaghatai, in distinction from some 
other dialects of the Turkish. This name is used 
loosely, and denotes the sway in Turkistan of a speech 
and literature so called after that which was considered 
a model of excellence in Central Asia. The Takahs 
have but few books. Such as they have are in manu- 
script, and written in Arabic characters. A few books 
are written by Takah authors, but the greater part are 
said to be produced in Bokhara. 

By religious faith the Turkmans are allied to the 
Osmanlees and Afghans and the so-called Sunee Mo- 
hammedans. They are by religious prejudices adver- 
saries of the Persians. The religious orders among 
them are those of Islam. They possess one or two 
schools of some reputation among themselves, where 
young Turkmans learn to read the Koran, and works 
on rhetoric and theology. The mullahs are numerous, 
but unlearned, and the people are very superstitious. 
The belief in the presence of demons gives occasion 
for exorcists, among whom the itinerant Jew figures 
most conspicuously and successfully. He recites a 
passage of the Old Testament, or other sacred book, 
for a price, and he often sincerely believes that his ex- 
pedient is effectual in the expulsion of demons from 
the people possessed by them. All government 
among the Turkmans is patriarchal and democratic. 
All measures affecting the public welfare are decided 
by the popular vote or voice in public assembly, 
called jumhure. As a matter of fact, the elders and 



xi.] TURKMANS— MORAL CONDITION OF 241 

khans decide all questions. Legislation is a short 
process in their assemblies. The khan is the recog- 
nised protector of his subjects. The penalty for in- 
jury received is retaliation. Said a Turkman khan to 
me: " These matters are usually left to the old men, 
but every khan must protect his own from injury. If 
wrong is done to any of my men, I demand repara- 
tion ; if it is not given, I call my men together ; we 
mount our horses and make a chapoo to the nearest 
tents of the offenders. If sheep have been taken, we 
drive off the flocks ; if a man has been slain, we kill 
the people of the encampment." There is some form 
of law, but the general condition is that of anarchy. 

The moral condition of this people is as deplorable 
as their state in other respects. Polygamy is prac- 
tised without limit, and carries with it all the physical 
and moral effects of unrestrained licentiousness. The 
chief pursuit of the men is war. The captives taken 
by them till the soil under the supervision of women. 
The females care for the flocks and herds, and also 
manufacture coarse fabrics of cotton and wool, and 
the much admired Turkman carpets. 

The Turkman takes great pride in his horses, and 

these are justly celebrated. These animals are quickly 

distinguished from horses of all other breeds. The 

representative horse of these people is very high ; he 

has a long and slender neck, a long and round body, 

small ears, bony head, a mild eye and good, though 

not dashing, carriage. He is carefully blanketed at all 
16 



242 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

times, and his hair is short and glossy. The mane is 
naturally thin, and is usually shaven close along the 
whole length of the neck. Under the care of his 
master, and in his native plains, this horse is very ser- 
viceable, and has great powers of endurance. He will 
travel at a good rate during several days; but as reared 
by foreigners he is of little account. Horses of this 
breed, if of pure blood, and if good animals, bring 
large prices. Very fair samples of the breed are sold 
in Tehran for from fifty to one hundred tomans. The 
very best specimens, however, bring as high as three 
and five hundred tomans. We may reasonably sup- 
pose that this breed of horses was in this region of 
country when the Turkish tribes took possession of it, 
and that it represents the noted horses of ancient 
Bactria. It has been the practice of the Turkmans to 
ravage the Persian border. The word chapoo denotes, 
to the mind of a native of the country, a marauding 
excursion in which the horses are ridden at a rapid 
pace, and the object is plunder, and slaughter, and 
captives. 

The saying is current with this people that no offer- 
ing is so acceptable to God as the head of a Kizil 
Bash, or Gold Head. This name was given to a royal 
guard organized by Shah Ismael, the founder of the 
Sufee dynasty of Shahs. The term was taken from 
the peculiar hat prescribed by the Shah to be worn by 
the guard. The Shah was really the founder of the 
national faith called Athna Asherain, or the Twelve 



xi.] A TURKMAN CHAPOO. 243 

Imams. The prescribed hat was an emblem of this 
religious faith, and therefore an object of hatred to 
Sunees, and used by them as a term of reproach by 
which to denote the Sheah Persians. The hat was 
made of twelve pieces, and on each piece the name of 
one Imam was embroidered in gold. 

The Turkman Khans and the tribe may be at peace 
ostensibly with Persia ; but there is a common consent 
to the opinion that Persians are lawful objects of plun- 
der. Whenever, therefore, any one proposes a chapoo, 
he will most likely find volunteers to accompany him. 
The horses are put in trim. To each saddle is fastened 
a small leather bag of water, a bag of barley cake for 
the horse, and a little food for the rider. The weapons 
taken are a cimeter and short sword called kamah. 
Fifty or a hundred miles may be travelled very 
leisurely, to the border or to the vicinity of a Persian 
settlement. Then the horses are put to a gallop which 
is kept up during the attack and retreat. When his 
horse becomes weary and heated from thirst and 
travel, the Turkman dismounts and swabs the mouth 
and throat of the animal with a bit of fat carried for 
this purpose. The fat may also be given the horse to 
eat The old and infirm among the prisoners taken 
are usually slain. The young and strong, especially 
females, are reserved as slaves. If taken near a village 
or in the vicinity of Persian forces, the captives are put 
upon the horses with their captors, and borne beyond 
fear of pursuit. Then a rope is put about the neck of 



244 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

the captive and attached to the horse's head or tail. 
When the party arrive at the Turkman encampment 
there is a public reception of the raiders and their 
captives. A Georgian who was himself taken captive, 
and his sister also, related to me how they were re- 
ceived. It is the custom that the Turkman women 
shall inflict a blow upon every captive. The men, he 
said, got off with few strokes, but no mercy was shown 
to the Persian females. The poor Georgian woman was 
killed by the Turkman women. In most cases the cap- 
tives are stripped of their clothing. A bag, or a piece of 
felt, or an old garment is given instead. The captives 
are set to work, or sold as opportunity occurs. Many 
of them are sent to the slave markets of Bokhara. 
The system of retaliation has been perpetuated by both 
Persians and Turkmans. A chapoo by the latter is 
followed, if it be possible, by a raid upon Turkman 
soil. When near Mashhad I saw many flocks of sheep 
which had lately been driven in from the Turkman 
country. The practice of both Turkmans and Per- 
sians, of sending into slavery all persons taken as 
prisoners by them, was terminated by Russia in the 
capture of Khevah, and by the terms of the subse- 
quent peace. At that time many Persians returned 
from captivity. There was a mutual release of cap- 
tives. 

Previous to this time there was an old caravansary 
in Tehran where Turkman captives were kept. I 
sometimes went thither. An old man among them re- 



xi.] TURKMAN CONFERENCE WITH THE SHAH 245 

lated their grievances. He seemed to think his own 
people the more merciful masters. He said: "The 
Persians treat their prisoners with more cruelty than 
we Turkmans exercise ; for we send the captives to the 
fields to work, but the Persians keep us shut up in this 
miserable place." The caravansary is no longer stand- 
ing ; the inmates have returned to their homes beyond 
the Gorgon, and in the desert. The Turkman marau- 
ders now say : " We kill all we now take ; for Russia 
has broken up the slave markets, and will not permit 
us to hold slaves." 

With the capture of Khevah and isolation of Bok- 
hara the trade in captives was wellnigh abolished. 
Following close on this release of captives there was 
an effort at alliance with Persia, made by the Turk- 
mans. Being defeated at Khevah, and seeing a fair 
prospect of attack from all sides, it seemed desirable 
to the Turkmans to make peace with Persia. In pros- 
ecution of negotiations for this purpose, a delegation 
of these nomads waited upon the Shah. It was com- 
posed of seventy of the chief men of the Takahs, 
Goklan and Salor. The result was not wholly satis- 
factory to the delegation. I was able to see and to 
talk with some of the principal parties in this company. 
They appeared in long and bright scarlet coloured 
gowns, the gift of the Shah. The patriarch of the 
company was an old and gray-headed man who talked 
freely of his people. In course of the conversation 
he pointed toward his gown, and said, "This is all 



246 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xi. 

that we have received from the Shah. He ordered 
that money should be paid to us, but his subordinates 
have put off payment until it will be mid-winter before 
we can reach our homes." The old man had been 
trained to war. All his thoughts seemed to be upon 
blood and booty. The question was put, whether he 
had heard of Jesus Christ. He replied : " I think you 
mean that Russian general who came down over the 
border and slaughtered so many of our men." Then, 
seeming to think that his answer might not be correct, 
he said : " Was he an Englishman ? " 

The Persians are not the only people who have been 
taken captives, and sold as slaves by the Turkmans. 
Many Russians also suffered the same fate. The cha- 
poo was organized for the devastation of the Russian 
border also, and the coasts of the Caspian Sea were 
frequented by them. If a vessel were wrecked upon 
the coast, and by chance the seamen reached the shore, 
they were here in danger of attack. Many such per- 
sons escaped the violence of the sea only to serve as 
slaves. When Khevah was taken, the Takahs yet 
resisted, and concentrated their forces to oppose the 
Russians. 

In 1880 the Russian forces had advanced to Yange 
Kalah, and a railway had been constructed by them 
from Mekhailowsk to Kizil Arwat on the line of ad- 
vance toward Merv. At Yange Kalah the advance 
had accomplished nearly one half the distance or about 
two hundred miles. In following years there has been 



XI.] PROSPECTIVE PERSIAN IMPROVEMENTS. 247 

a slow but steady movement forward, and a submission 
of the Takah and other Tribes until now, in 18S5, the 
Russian advance is found at Panj Dah on the river 
Morgh Aub, and about twenty miles north of the re- 
puted boundary between the territory subject to Herat, 
and that which has been tributary to Merv. It is quite 
certain that the railway will be extended to Panj Dah 
and will meet, somewhere in that region, a railway 
from the Indus. There will thus be opened a high- 
way for commerce between India and the Caspian Sea, 
and Central Asia. This would give the quickest and 
most available route to India from Europe. The in- 
fluence of these present and prospective improvements 
along the Persian border will be very great. 

But whatever the future may be, Persia now enjoys 
peace on her border. The Turkman as he was, the 
scourge and terror of Eastern Persia and Central Asia, 
has ceased to be, and has given way to another race. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Area of Persia — Desert of Khorasan — The Interior of Persia — The 
Shores of the Seas and Altitudes — Mountain Ranges — Highest Peaks 
— Intermediate Mountains — Rivers — Irrigation — Heat — Changes of 
Seasons and the Diseases of the Country — The Caspian Coast — Soil 
— Productions — Cattle and Horses — Connaughts and their Cost — Gar- 
dens — Agricultural Implements — Raising of Stock — Coal and Min- 
erals — Population — Roving Bands — State of Civilization — Languages 
— Literature — Scribes — Description of a Persian Book — Internal 
Improvements — Commerce — Cost of Living — Causes Preventing Im- 
provement — Imports — Exports — Carpets — Persian Earthenware and 
Glass — Silk and Velvet — Steel — Old Work — Porcelain — Rare Articles 
— Bricks and Masonry — Engraving — Hatim — Kalamdans — Mills — 
Wine — Process of Manufacture — Arak or Brandy — Unintoxicating 
Drink — Condition of the People — Social Customs — Salutations — The 
Sandals — Entertainment of Guests — Baths — Toilet of an Old School 
Persian — Habits of Life — Meals — Drunkenness — Penalty for — The 
Precepts of Mohammed as to Drink — Use of Opium — Sherbets and 
Drinks — Food — Women in Public — Social Entertainments of Women 
— Of Men — Marriage Rites — Funerals — Amusements— Persian Houses 
— Palaces — Andarune and Berune — Musical Instruments and Musical 
Taste — Music Excluded from Worship — Vocal Music — Introduction 
of Foreign Customs. 

The area 1 of Persia is now about five hundred and 
fifty thousand square miles. The most northern point 
is at Mount Ararat, near the 40th parallel of latitude, 

1 The area within settled boundaries. 
248 



xii.] INTERIOR OF PERSIA. 249 

and the most southern is the extremity of the province 
of Kerman on the 25th parallel. A large part of 
this area is desert. The desert of Khorasan is es- 
timated to cover from eighty-five to one hundred 
thousand square miles. As the boundaries of this 
desert are not very definitely fixed, it might be ex- 
pected that the estimate of area will vary as made by 
different persons. The interior of Persia is commonly 
described as an elevated plateau ; but it should not be 
supposed that the plateau is a level tract of country, 
for the whole land is mountainous. It is character- 
ized by mountain ranges and broad plains. Low 
lands skirt the shore of the Caspian Sea, and sections 
of the Persian Gulf coast. The interior plains have 
an elevation above the sea of from two to six thousand 
feet. Some parts of the desert of Khorasan are much 
below this minimum, and it has been conjectured that 
in some places the desert is lower than the surface of 
the ocean. 

On the north, the Elburz mountains rise south of 
the Kur and Aras rivers, and form a curve corres- 
ponding to the contour of the southern Caspian coast, 
and extend eastward to the Hindoo Kush, in a notable 
chain of mountains. In Eastern Khorasan the El- 
burz are lower than in the west, and there are wide 
gaps in the course of the range in Western Turkistan. 
The highest peaks of this range are from ten to twelve 
thousand feet above the sea, except Damavand, which 
rises to a height of not less than eighteen thousand 



250 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

feet above the surface of the sea. This mountain is 
northeast of Tehran, and about forty miles distant 
from that city. It is the cone of an extinct volcano. 
There are evidences of the presence of internal heat 
sufficient to justify the opinion, that the mountain may 
yet become an active volcano. The mountains in the 
vicinity of Damavand form the most elevated region 
of the whole range, and are a centre of clouds and 
rain, justifying the use of the name of this mountain, 
which, in Persian, signifies the abundance of mist. On 
the northwest the Ararat and Kara Dag cover the 
regions between the Black and the Caspian seas, and 
are separated from the Caucasus by the river Kur, and 
washed by the tributaries of the Aras. On the west 
the Zagros sever Persia from Turkey, and under many 
names and in many parallel ranges extend in a south- 
easterly course through Southern Persia. The high- 
est peaks of this range rise to an altitude of ten or 
fifteen thousand feet. Between these great ranges 
there are many spurs from each, which interlock and 
fill the land with a mesh of mountains, all of which 
are destitute of verdure, except the slopes toward the 
seas. 

In all these regions there are no great rivers. 1 Many 
small streams flow from the mountains into the desert 
of Khorasan. Their waters form extensive marshes 
and lakes, which in the summer quite disappear, leav- 
ing the bogs, which are called by Persians kabeers. 

1 The great rivers touching the boundaries are not considered. 



xii.] TEMPERA TURE. 25 1 

The extensive plains and valleys are irrigated, if at 
all, by artificial watercourses. As the country is 
mountainous and barren, the degree of heat and cold 
may be conjectured. Drouth and heat prevail from 
the first of April or May to the month of November. 
The rainfalls at any time are light. The summer sun 
shines from a cloudless sky with an intensity unknown 
in a humid atmosphere. The plains become heated, 
and the winds which blow over them take the tem- 
perature of the earth and stones. These are often 
succeeded at night by very cold winds. The differ- 
ence of altitude between the plains and the mountains 
gives a great difference in the temperature of different 
places, yet the heat of the day is very great in sum- 
mer, even in the very high positions. Like difference 
of temperature is experienced in the winter time. But 
only the lowest plains of the interior are free from 
snow. The valleys and plains which have an eleva- 
tion of three and four thousand feet — and but few are 
below this — are covered in all the northern provinces 
with deep snow, and the thermometer registers as 
low as eight degrees above zero, Fahrenheit. The 
changes of seasons are gradual. The even tempera- 
ture and dry atmosphere are believed to be healthful, 
and diseases of the throat and lungs are rare. But 
heat and malaria induce fever and complaints quite as 
fatal. 

A narrow belt of land on the Caspian coast is noted 
for its humid atmosphere, dense forests and malaria. 



252 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

The border of the Persian Gulf and the lower Tigris 
valley are intensely hot. The soil of the plains is a 
light clay or loam, and is very fertile. The chief pro- 
ductions are wheat, barley, cotton, rice and fruits. 
In some provinces tobacco and opium are grown. 
The fruits are many varieties of grapes, apples, 
peaches, pears, quince, pomegranates, melons, walnuts, 
almonds and oranges, and in the south, dates ; but the 
small berries so much esteemed in other countries are 
here unknown, except in places where they have been 
introduced by foreigners, and are grown for their use. 
The seedless grape is most esteemed for eating. It 
is small and sweet, and appears to have no injurious 
effects, and may be eaten with impunity. 

The country abounds in wild animals. The tiger, 
bear and leopard inhabit the forests of the Caspian 
coast, and traverse the interior. Lions are found in 
the warm regions of the south. Wild goats and deer 
are most abundant in the mountains. Aquatic fowls 
frequent the ponds. The pelican and flamingo are 
found on the shores of the inland seas. Of birds of 
song the nightingale is most common and most es- 
teemed. Wild asses traverse the secluded parts of the 
desert. Wolves are abundant, and are the pest of the 
flocks, and often attack travellers in the winter season. 
Quite every village is resonant at night with the cries 
of the jackals. The shepherd dogs are large and 
fierce, and one of them is said to be well able to kill a 
wolf. The hunting dogs, or hounds, are reared with 



Xii.] AGRICULTURE. 253 

care, and are much admired. Persian cats are famed 
for their fox-like tails and long hair. No care is exer- 
cised in the rearing of fowls, and the breeds are small 
and inferior. A few years ago turkeys could not be 
found in the country. So rare were they that a pair 
sold in Tehran for six tomans. The domestic cattle 
are small and poorly kept, except the buffalo, which 
is reared in Western Persia. The horses are Arab, 
Turkman and Persian breeds. Of the Persian stock 
there are several varieties which have a local reputa- 
tion, but all these are esteemed, and may be counted 
among the best horses in the world. 

The state of agriculture is most primitive. The 
want of water restricts the pursuit, and it is not car- 
ried on in any very extended scale. A very small 
parcel of land is sufficient for the support of a peas- 
ant. The irrigation of the land is effected by subter- 
ranean aqueducts. These are constructed by digging 
a series of wells, and connecting the wells by a ditch 
at the bottom. Such watercourses are called con- 
naughts. They are, in many instances, several miles 
in length, and are constructed at considerable expense. 
The cost of some connaughts is ten and twenty thou- 
sand tomans. This cost can be borne by the rich 
only, for stock companies are rare. For this and 
other reasons the proprietorship of lands and villages 
is with the rich men. The owner of the land and 
water supplies the tenant, and receives two-thirds or 
three-fifths of the products, according to the productive- 



254 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

ness of the land. The gardens and vineyards can be 
possessed by the well-to-do people only, except in a 
few favoured places where water is abundant. 

The implements of agriculture are of the rudest 
construction. In the present condition of the people 
as to intelligence and capital, it is probable that these 
implements serve their purpose better than the more 
expensive and complicated machines of other countries 
would. The Persian plow is a sharpened stick covered 
with iron. It is sometimes constructed with an ar- 
rangement for raising or depressing the stick which 
serves as a share. The sickle is used for reaping. The 
threshing is done by means of an axle set with thin 
iron wheels. The wheels cut the straw very fine. The 
grain is beaten out by the feet of the cattle which 
draw the machine. The only way known by the na- 
tives to clean the wheat is to toss it in the wind and to 
wash it. Wheat is sown in the autumn. It is of a good 
quality, and is harvested in June or July. Corn is 
rarely raised. The only variety esteemed or grown is 
popcorn. Barley is grown for the horses, and no other 
grain is given to these animals. Clover and other 
very nutritious grasses are grown for cattle and horses. 
The religious scruples of Mohammedans prevent the 
keeping of hogs and the eating of pork ; but the Mo- 
hammedan thinks it propitious to have a pig in the 
stable yard. 

Horses are too expensive to be reared or owned by 
the poor ; they are therefore not raised in very large 



xii.] MINERALOGY. 255 

numbers. The cost of foddering cattle is also too great 
for most of the peasants ; a few oxen only are there- 
fore kept by this class of the people. Donkeys, being 
very hardy and costing but little in feeding, are raised 
in large numbers, and kept by the poor and rich alike. 
The gray donkeys of Khorasan and the white donkeys 
of Bagdad are much prized, and a good donkey, trained 
to the saddle, will bring a better price than a fair horse. 

The mountains of Persia are known to contain val- 
uable minerals. The Shah employs a mineralogist 
for the purpose of exploration and the supervision of 
mines, but the government is reluctant to make any 
investment in mining operations. The most exten- 
sively worked mines are those of turquois, in Khor- 
asan. The only coal mines yet opened are the mines 
of bituminous coal near Casveen, and in the vicinity 
of Damavand. Iron, tin, lead, copper, gold and silver 
are imported so far as they are needed. There are 
periodical excitements in the capital over the reputed 
discovery of gold, and the Shah orders a careful ex- 
ploration. But he is not satisfied to find the precious 
metal in any other condition than that of nuggets of 
fine gold. 

The population of the country is estimated at from 
five to ten millions. As no census is taken, it is im- 
possible to make an approximate estimate. The re- 
ligious orders are opposed to any numbering of the 
people. It is quite certain that were a census to be 
taken it would be wholly unreliable. All the estimates 



256 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

hitherto made by Europeans are no more than random 
guesses, and are without any foundation ; for neither 
the assessments for taxes nor the military conscription 
furnish any reliable basis for a calculation. The pop- 
ulation is made up chiefly of two great races ; the 
Iranian or pure Persian, and the Turanian, as repre- 
sented in the Tartar and Turkish tribes. The race 
distinctions have disappeared to some extent, but they 
are perpetuated in many tribes and clans, as the 
Afshars, the Kajars, Kara Kopaks, Turkmans, Gelee, 
Kurds, Loree and Baktearee. 

The Baktearee inhabit the Zagros in Southern Per- 
sia. Near them are the Loree. Each has a jargon 
peculiar to itself. They are very often in rebellion 
against the governors, and are notorious robbers, who 
frequently perpetrate acts of violence toward other 
tribes, especially upon Armenians. The people of 
Gelan are believed to represent the ancient Gelae. The 
Elyots are herdsmen and shepherds who live in tents, 
and migrate with the change of season. The Bar- 
barees appear to be roving bands like the gypsies. It 
has been said that there are upward of seventy dis- 
tinct tribes in Persia, every one of which has a speech 
peculiar to itself. The people of the large towns man- 
ifest a fair degree of civilization, and some refinement. 
The districts remote from the principal cities are peo- 
pled by fierce and lawless clans, who are restrained 
from violence by fear of the authorities only. 

The two languages most commonly spoken in Per- 



xii.] LANGUAGE. 257 

sia are the Persian and the Turkish. If the people of 
the province of Azarbijan be excepted, it may with 
truth be said, that quite all the people speak the Per- 
sian. It should not be thought that one and only one 
of these tongues is known to the people. With the 
exception made, it may truly be said that in the north- 
ern provinces the most part of the people understand 
both tongues. In the south the Persian is known to 
all. 

The Turkish spoken in Persia is essentially the same 
speech as that sometimes called trans-Caucasian Turk- 
ish and Azarbijan Turkish. It is spoken by the 
Turkish part of the population in the north, from the 
eastern to the western boundary. The Persian tongue 
is greatly corrupted by words of Arabic origin, so 
that it is quite impossible to master the language with- 
out some knowledge of Arabic. The Persians have 
quite abandoned the grammar of pure Persian, and 
have no knowledge of any other than Arabic. There 
seems to be, however, a tendency to the use of Persian 
words, and many of the books published show less 
Arabic than books composed in former times. The 
Persian is classed with the Indo-European family of 
tongues, and is one of the most euphonious. A Euro- 
pean or American travelling in that country will recog- 
nize the words mader and brader. The old Persian, 
free from Arabic words, is yet spoken in some of the 
secluded regions. The introduction of the Arabic to 
the country came with the conquest of the land by the 
17 



258 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

Arabs ; but the perpetuity of that element is due to 
the Koran, and the religious books and form of 
worship. 

The literature of the country is extensive. It em- 
braces works of history, poetry, theology, philosophy, 
and works in every department of knowledge. Books 
are now produced by the lithographic process. Not 
many years ago they were made by hand only. Very 
many are yet made in this way, and are more prized 
than the printed volumes, as now produced by litho- 
graphy. Many of these manuscripts are written with 
great beauty. Special care was taken by the mirzas 
in transcribing copies of the Koran and of the poets. 
The former may be found condensed in a very small 
volume, no larger than an inch or an inch and a half 
square. The usual size is much larger. The letters 
are, in many books, written in gilt, and this work of 
illumination is very beautiful. The Persian scribes 
are excellent penmen, and some of them have become 
famous for their skill. All the books, however, con- 
tain many errors. The lithographic process is thought 
to mar the beauty of the writing. Owing to many 
errors and to bad printing most books are read with 
some difficulty. Many of the literary works are volu- 
minous. Here, as in other Eastern countries, the 
books are read from the right hand to the left. It is 
usual to begin every book with an inscription " in the 
name of God most merciful," and the introduction is 
composed in the most pompous style and difficult 



xii.] IMPROVEMENTS. 259 

Arabic terms. The last page closes with the date of 
composition or transcription, and with the name either 
of the author or of the transcriber. Men of learning 
among the Persians are much given to book-making, 
and some of the rich have collected large libraries. 
The Persian poets are greatly admired, and freely 
quoted by the unlearned and the educated. 

In internal improvements Persia is one of the most 
unprogressive countries. The capital has been con- 
nected by telegraph with every provincial capital. 
Since 1876 an efficient postal service has been in 
operation. The country at large has witnessed no 
other improvements. The telegraph lines were con- 
structed by European superintendents, and the postal 
system was organized by a foreigner in the pay of the 
Shah. The only wagon road of any considerable 
length is the road from Tehran to Casveen. All 
efforts on the part of Europeans to secure the privi- 
lege of constructing a railway have proved failures, 
for the reason that the Shah could not make the in- 
vestment of foreign capital secure, and would not 
incur the risk himself. The extensive plains of the 
interior, connected one with another as they are, offer 
an open way for railroads. It would seem to be pos- 
sible to construct them with ease, and to maintain 
them at a small expense. At the present time the 
great cost of the transportation of produce and mer- 
chandise retards the small business which is carried 
on, and prevents that which might be created. All 



260 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xil. 

exports must be carried to the seacoast on the backs 
of camels or other beasts of burden. The cost of 
wheat delivered at the port is about equivalent to six 
dollars for every seven hundred pounds ; but the im- 
ported calico is sold at from eighteen to twenty shahee 
per Persian zarh. 

The cost of living in the country has greatly in- 
creased in the course of a few years. The increasing 
wants of the rich impel to greater extortion, and while 
a few people are growing richer, the peasants are grow- 
ing poorer, if that be possible, and the whole country 
is falling into a financial stress, the only remedy for 
which, in the ordinary course of things, is a reduction 
of the population by war and famine. There is an 
utter want either of capacity, or of a disposition to im- 
prove the country. The intentions of the Shah may 
reasonably be supposed to be good toward his own 
subjects, but the universal prevalence of greed and 
dishonesty nullifies every good device, even if it does 
not prevent the capacity to discover a good expedient. 

The articles imported are from Russia chiefly. 
Many commodities are brought from other countries. 
They are prints, cotton and woolen goods, sugar and 
fancy articles. The importation of calico exceeds that 
of all other commodities. The exports are wheat, rice, 
fruits, opium, wood, wool, cotton and hides. Of manu- 
factures, a few carpets and shawls are exported. Carpets 
are of three kinds and distinguished by the names, 
kale, namad and gelim. The first is woven of fine 



xil] MANUFACTURES. 261 

wool, and in many designs. The best grades of this 
kind sell in the markets at from twenty-five to thirty 
karans the Persian square zarh. The varieties of 
kalies are denoted by names taken from the place of 
manufacture; so there are the Faraghan, the Khorasan, 
the Herat, Turkman and Kurd. The best grades of 
all these varieties are very beautiful, but in Persia the 
first named is considered the best. The namads are 
unwoven, and are made by pounding wool in a mass 
while moist. The patterns are formed by pounding 
coloured wool into the surface of the namad. The 
namads of Ispahan are the best. The gelim is usually 
made of coarse wool, woven in stripes of different col- 
ours. There are, however, other patterns. Very large 
rugs of silk are made in some places, but they are rare. 
The kalies, namads, and gelims are usually made in 
rugs containing each about twelve or twenty square 
zarhs ; but very large carpets are sometimes made to 
order. I have seen namads fully seventy-five feet long 
and fifty feet wide. The kalies retain their beauty and 
lustre for many years. Carpets are shown in some 
places, which have been kept in fair condition for two 
hundred years. The namads are likely to be moth- 
eaten in a short time, if they are not well cared for. 
Very small kalies are woven, called joi namaz, or place 
of prayer ; they are used to kneel upon in prayer time 
in the mosques, and some of them are very pretty. 
The best of the work called Reshtee is formed by set- 
ting designs in a groundwork of cloth. It is a sort of 



262 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

mosaic in cloth. It is used for slippers, caps, saddle 
cloths, and stand covers. 

Quite every Persian house is provided with one or 
more good rugs, which are used in place of chairs. 
These will be found in the dwellings of the poorest 
people as well as in the homes of the rich. The arti- 
cles manufactured by Persians, besides carpets, are 
vessels of copper, earthenware, and silk and cotton 
fabrics. Cooking utensils are made of copper; for 
Persians have not the art of casting. The copper ves- 
sels are covered with an amalgam of tin. 

Persian earthenware, as now manufactured, is very 
poor ; the markets are therefore supplied with china, 
and ware brought from Europe. Glass is made in the 
country in small quantities, and rude bottles are manu- 
factured ; but window glass and glassware are all 
imported. The best Persian shawls are made of very 
fine wool of sheep and goats, as well as of camels' 
hair. They are made in Kerman. Those manufac- 
tured in Khorasan are less valuable than the Kerman 
shawls. Silk and velvet fabrics are made in Yezd and 
Kashan, and in some other places. Much of the raw 
silk is exported. These and quite all other fabrics are 
woven in the dwellings of the people. Cotton and 
woolen factories as constructed in Europe and America 
are unknown here. Good steel is made in some cities ; 
usually it is made into knives and cimeters. 

Quite all the articles made in former times are 
superior to the manufactures of the present day. This 



xii.] MANUFACTURES.. 263 

superiority is noticeable especially in pottery, tiles, 
shawls and embroidery. The varieties of porcelain 
and pottery are : an imitation of china ; a white, very 
thin and translucent species of porcelain ; the refle, 
called by Persians talae or golden, from the play of 
colours in the enamel. Tiles of the refle were used in 
ornamenting the walls of mosques, and baths, and as 
tablets. Tiles have been found bearing dates which 
showed that they were made as early as eight hundred 
years ago. These articles of old work are much 
sought, and are now rare. Many of the designs of 
Persian ware, both old and new, are very beautiful. 

Persian bricks are about eight inches square ; but 
very large tiles for pavements are also made. En- 
ameled tiles for facing gateways are of many forms and 
sizes. Hunting scenes, portraits and landscapes are 
wrought in a mosaic of these enameled tiles and 
brick. Much skill is shown in etching and engraving 
brass and in wood carving. The work called hatim 
is much used in toilet boxes, and in the manufacture 
of tables. It is a mosaic made of ivory or bones. 
Kalamdans, book covers, and small boxes are made 
of paper, and are very firm and durable. The work 
is a sort of papier mache. 

Persian flour mills are of very simple construction. 
The wheat is ground by two large millstones, which 
are turned by a large water-wheel. The flour is un- 
bolted and must be sifted for use, if white flour be 
desired. Wine is made in the houses of Armenians, 



264 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

Jews and Guebers. The process of manufacture is 
very simple. The grapes are trodden in a vat made 
for the purpose. The juice of the grapes is poured 
into very large jars, and after fermentation is put in 
glass bottles. Arak is distilled from wine, or from 
dried grapes. The process is carried on, as the manu- 
facture of wine, in private houses. A drink which is 
not intoxicating is made of the juice of the unripe 
grapes. It is kept during the year, but is not es- 
teemed as wine. 

The greater part of the people of Persia are very 
poor. The tenants or agriculturists are the poorest 
class. The faalas are day labourers. Common work- 
men receive from fifteen to twenty shahees per 
day. A mason or a carpenter receives about forty or 
fifty shahees. The masons are skilful in laying brick. 
There is comparatively little work for carpenters. 
They make doors and windows, and in the large cities 
they make chairs, bedsteads and tables. Much use is 
made of a cement of gypsum for plastering walls and 
in ornamental work. The plasterers are in good 
demand. The merchants are in a better financial con- 
dition than the labourers or artisans. The rich men 
are found mostly in the number of princes and office- 
holders. A merchant who has property to the value of 
ten thousand pounds is thought to be very rich. Some 
of the chief officers of the government are possessors 
of property to the value of a million or more. The 
social life and customs of the people are in the main 



xii.] CUSTOMS. 265 

those of all Orientals ; but there are manners peculiar 
to race and religion. 

There is a common salutation of, " Peace be with 
you " — the salam alakim of the Mohammedan — and 
the Persian khodafis spoken in parting, or the prayer, 
" May your shadow never grow less." The sandals 
or low shoes are left in the outer hall by one who 
enters the guest-room. Europeans are permitted to 
follow their own custom in this particular, but they 
usually manifest respect for themselves, and the cus- 
tom of the country, by wearing overshoes, which are 
drawn from the boots on entering a house. It is con- 
sidered a breach of etiquette to remove the hat from 
the head. It is the practice of all the people to enter- 
tain every visitor with tea or coffee and the kalyon. 
Tiny cups, holding no more than a few thimblesful, 
are used. The kalyon is a pipe arranged so that the 
smoke of the tobacco may be drawn through water. 
The small bowls holding the tobacco are often of sil- 
ver or gold, and are highly ornamented with precious 
stones. The use of the kalyon is universal with both 
males and females. It is, therefore, to be seen in the 
house and in the place of business. 

The public bath is frequented by all classes of the 
people, and much time is spent in it. The buildings 
used as baths are constructed of brick, and the rooms 
are wholly below the surface of the ground, in order 
to be below the streams of water by which the bath 
is supplied. The water is heated in large tanks. The 



266 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xir. 

bath-room is paved with enameled tiles and covered 
with a brick dome, in which a few panes of thick glass 
are set to admit light. The bath-room is filled with 
steam, and the water is poured upon the body by an 
attendant. A tea shop is usually kept near the bath- 
house, and the bath is commonly followed by tea 
drinking, which seems to be quite essential after the 
exhaustion of the sweating occasioned by the bath. 
The Persian of the genuine type and old school 
hardly thinks himself in a condition to be seen until 
his hair and beard have been dyed, and his finger- 
nails stained, if not his fingers also. He rises at the 
early dawn or time of the azon, and repeats the usual 
prayer ; and having drunk a cup of tea, if he be rich 
enough to afford it, he goes to the field or to his shop. 
At ten o'clock he sits down in his place of business 
to eat a breakfast of bread and sour milk which has 
been brought upon a tray and set before him. The 
hours of midday, in summer, are passed in sleep. 
Labour, when resumed, is continued until sunset. The 
principal meal of the day, and the best he can afford, 
of meat, rice, and savory dishes, is partaken of in com- 
pany with the members of his family, and after night- 
fall, and in the open court of the house, or upon the 
roof. If inclined to drink wine and arak, the most 
approved custom is to indulge at this hour. He sa- 
tiates his thirst, if that be possible, by drunkenness, 
having first taken the precaution of locking the doors 
and going to bed. It happens, therefore, now as in 



xii.] MOHAMMEDAN PRECEPTS. 267 

ancient times, that " They that be drunken are drunken 
in the night." It should not be thought, however, 
that all lovers of strong drink are so obedient to cus- 
tom. If the drinker be a Mohammedan, he runs 
some risk of fine, disgrace, or a flogging. If a Jew 
or a Christian, he may drink with impunity. The 
popular sentiment, and some fear of Mohammedans, 
make it expedient that he should drink in secret. 

The precepts of Mohammed concerning the use of 
wine and strong drink seem to have been suggested by 
the drunkenness prevalent among the Arabs and other 
people. The first word spoken by Mohammed against 
the practice is said to have been uttered when a 
drunken man reviled him. Very many Mohammed- 
ans drink to drunkenness ; yet the law and popular 
sentiment is against drink. A consistent Moham- 
medan thinks himself to be defiled by the taste, touch, 
or even odour of wine or brandy. Opium is used to 
excess by many of the people, and hasheesh is also 
drunk, and arsenic is eaten. Bad as these practices 
are, they are not so unpopular as the use of intoxi- 
cating drink. Sherbets of several kinds are freely 
used in hot weather, and tea is drunk by all who can 
get it. Lemon water is made in large quantities. Ice 
is abundant in all the northern provinces. To obtain 
it, long canals or ponds are made and protected from 
the sun by a high wall constructed on the south side 
of the water. 

The food of the average Persian consists of bread, 



268 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

meat, rice, fruit and vegetables. There are several 
kinds of bread, and quite all made of unbolted flour. 
The bread called sangak is a leavened cake mixed 
with water, and baked on small stones in an oven 
made for the purpose. The pebbles, after being 
washed, are spread upon an iron plate, and then put 
into the oven ; when the stones are heated, the thin 
cake of dough is spread upon them and then baked. 
The cake is large and thin. This kind of bread is to 
be had only in large cities where ovens are made for 
baking it. Lavash is the name of the common bread 
as baked in the ovens made in the ground. The only 
difference between this and the former is in the 
qualities imparted by the different processes of 
baking. 

The meat most used is mutton. Beef is kept for 
sale in the large cities, and in the winter season only. 
The most common way of cooking the mutton is to 
make what are called kabobs. These are made in sev- 
eral ways ; by broiling on a spit, or by chopping the 
meat and pressing it into a cake, which is fried. Pota- 
toes are not commonly known in the country. They 
were grown for the use of foreigners, but are now 
grown by Persians for the market. The name by which 
the potato is called is a literal translation of the French 
pomme de terre, or apple of the earth. All the sugar 
used is imported ; but fair syrup is made of the juice 
of grapes. Rice is more used than any other article 
of food, except bread. The common dish of rice is 



xii.] SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENTS. 269 

the pelow. It is rice boiled in water, and then, after 
separation from the water, is heated and mixed with 
butter. Rice is grown in abundance, and is very 
cheap. 

In all formal social entertainments there is an entire 
separation of men and women. Women frequent the 
assemblies in the mosques and the tazeahs, but always 
in the dress which custom has prescribed for the street 
and public places. The social entertainments of the 
women consist in feasting, eating of candies, in gossip, 
and dancing by hired dancing girls or boys. The 
reading of the Persian poets is sometimes one feature 
of an entertainment. A dervish or a mullah may be 
employed for this purpose; he being stationed in 
another apartment of the harem. The entertainments 
of the men are a feast, smoking, and drinking of sher- 
bets. Their amusements are card-playing, horse- 
racing, ram rights, and hawking, and hunting. The 
marriage feast continues several days. The legal act 
concludes with the procession to the house of the 
bridegroom. This procession is often, but not always, 
in the night. If in the night it is attended with fire- 
works and torches, according to the ability of the 
parties most interested. It is customary that the 
bridegroom should furnish the bridal dress, and the 
presentation of this is an important part of the cere- 
monies. The betrothal occurs at the early ages of 
eight and ten years, and marriage as early as the ninth 
year, though it is rarely celebrated so early. It is yet 



270 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

more rare after the sixteenth year, except in the case 
of widows. 

Funerals are attended with wailing and feasting. 
The presence of hired mourners is very rare. The 
formalities consist of wrapping the body in cotton 
cloth in which it is interred, no coffin being used, and 
in the reading of the Koran, and recitation of prayers 
by a mullah. The body is placed on a rough bier and 
carried on the shoulders of several men, or it is borne 
to the place of burial on a taktravan. If formal, the 
procession is preceded by the mullah, who recites from 
the Koran by the way. In most cases of poor people 
there is no procession. The body is interred during 
the recitation by the mullah. It is customary to read 
the Koran over the grave at stated times, especially 
on the anniversary of the death. The interment usu- 
ally takes place on the day of death, or within the 
next twelve hours after death. 

The amusements of Persian boys are wrestling and 
a game resembling marbles played with the vertebrae 
of sheep. I have never seen a Persian boy with a sled 
or a pair of skates. All the boys are put to work at a 
tender age, if not in school. The schools are kept in 
the mosques, and taught by mullahs. The boys sit 
on the matting with which the floor is covered, or 
upon rugs which they bring. They learn to read and 
write. If they wish to learn more than this, they must 
find private tutors. Every scholar pays a small 
amount every week to the teacher. There are no 



xii.] PERSIAN ARCHITECTURE. 271 

public and free schools in the land. The sons of rich 
men are taught by private tutors. They are early 
trained to horsemanship, and find their sport in riding 
and hunting. As soon as they have some knowledge 
of reading and writing, they are practised in the busi- 
ness of their father. It is not uncommon that a boy 
thirteen or fifteen years of age should act as judge, 
or as the governor of a province or city. Every car- 
penter, mason, tailor, or artisan keeps a small boy with 
him to help in work, and to serve as an apprentice. 
The little girls serve in the house. 

Climate, building material, and the social life of the 
people, have given form and arrangement to the Per- 
sian houses. The parcel of land used for a dwelling is 
first inclosed by a high wall, so that no one can see 
the court within. Another wall is constructed parallel 
to this on one or more sides of the court, and carried 
to the height of ten or twelve feet, if the house be one 
story high. The space between the two walls is parti- 
tioned off into as many rooms as desired. The doors 
and windows are therefore all on one side of the 
rooms. 

The palaces of the rich are constructed on the same 
general plan. Some houses are built in the centre of 
a court, and therefore have a front on two sides. One 
peculiarity of a Persian house is the division into 
berune and andarune, or the outer and the inner apart- 
ments. The latter is occupied by the females, and is 
the harem. The chief outlay in the way of ornament 



272 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xn. 

is on the berune, the quarters occupied by the men. 
Yet some palaces form an exception to this statement. 
The summer palaces of the wealthy are often arranged 
with great care and taste. They may be poorly built, 
but they present an extended front of columns and 
terraces, or fountains, and porches, seen through long 
vistas of plane and poplar trees. A rill of water, one 
important feature of a garden and palace, ripples over 
a pavement of brick or stone, flowing through foun- 
tains and by the side of pavilions from terrace to ter- 
race, and down broad avenues of trees, and through 
flowery paths. To such retreats the Persian has given 
the name Ferdose, and Behisht, that is, Heaven. The 
fortunate owner of such a place finds his chief solace 
in resting in his pavilion, listening to the murmur of 
the waters, or to the song of the nightingale, and 
breathing an air laden with the perfume of sweet 
flowers. 

The Persians of all ranks take great pleasue in cul- 
tivating flowers. The sides of the fountains are usually 
set with pots of geraniums and roses. The gardens 
abound in tulips, pansies, snowballs, and roses of sev- 
eral varieties. The tree most esteemed for shade is 
the chinar or plane. In its height, wide spreading 
branches, and foliage, it resembles the elm. It is of 
slow and sturdy growth. The poplar tree, which we 
call the Lombardy, is most common, and used in the 
construction of the roofs of dwellings. The walnut 
is used in the manufacture of furniture, and the apple 



xii.] MUSIC. 273 

and cherry and box are used for fancy work and small 
articles. 

The musical instruments of the country are chiefly 
stringed instruments, of which the chief is the tar, 
played in the same manner as the guitar of Europeans. 
The music which is not imported is no more than a 
monotonous repetition of a few minor tones ; but it is 
admired by the people. •• The singing of Europeans, 
when first heard by Persians, is not so favourably re- 
ceived, and is appreciated only as the people are 
educated to it. All music is excluded from the wor- 
ship of Mohammedans. The emotions excited by it 
are thought to be incompatible with the reverence of 
true worship. The intonation of the service, especi- 
ally the reading, is some compensation for the absence 
of a service of song. The better class of people give 
no attention to vocal or instrumental music. The art 
is consigned to the dervishes, the boys and the Lutees, 
and is usually considered an indication of low social 
standing. The dancers and the Lutees are the princi- 
pal musicians, and the art is practised, for the most 
part, by the disreputable classes. In the capital many 
of the customs of foreigners have been introduced, 
and the cultivation of a musical taste is more respect- 
able than in the rural settlements. In the King's 
College instruction in music is given, and some Per- 
sians drive quite a business in renting pianos. 



18 



CHAPTER XIII. 

The Government of Persia — Absolute Authority of the Shah — Officers 
of the Government — Army — Administration — Governors — Assess- 
ments — The Sar or Capitation Tax — The Mall — The Land Tax — 
Begaree — Revenue — Tenure of Land — Title Deeds — The Governor 
or Hoykim — Sadr Azam — Personal Liberty of the Ryot — The Three 
Departments of Government — The Oorf — The Sharah — Appeal — 
Relations of the Two Courts — Mode of Trial — Punishments — Sanc- 
tuary — Where afforded — Price of Blood — Imprisonment for Debt — 
Bankrupts — Resistance to the Shah and Protection by Asylum — The 
Currency — Postal System — Bribery — Slavery — Laws Regulating Mar- 
riage — Rights of the Covenanted or Ahdah and of the Sekah — 
Part performed by the Mullah — Abject state of the Harij or Mutee 
Islam — Practice in Hamadan — Particular Grievances of the Mutee or 
Alien Subject — Rights of Foreigners determined by Treaty. 

The government of Persia is that of an absolute 
monarchy. The Shah is the supreme ruler of the 
country, and possesses all the lands which have not 
been occupied by patent from the king. His absolute 
right and authority is expressed in many high-sound- 
ing titles with which he is addressed by his obsequious 
courtiers and subjects ; such as, Shah in Shah, — " King 
of Kings ; " Keblah Alam, — the Centre of the World. 
Homayune, — The Blessed. He only has the power 
of life and death, and for the execution of any outlaw 
permission must first be obtained from the sovereign. 
274 



xin.] NAMES OF PERSIAN OFFICIALS. 275 

The king, at will, appoints all the officers of his gov- 
ernment. These are the heads of the departments of 
state, the governors of the provinces, and the officers 
of the army. He calls, and dismisses at pleasure, some 
of the officers of the state to constitute an advisory, or 
privy council. These men consult with the king and 
propose measures for the public good. The council, 
however, is not permanent, as the Shah often finds it 
more convenient to manage affairs independently. The 
chief officers of State are : the Sadr Azam, or Prime 
Minister ; the Sapar Salar, or Commander-in-Chief of 
the Army ; — for there is no navy; — Mustofeal Mamalak, 
or Secretary of the State ; Minister of Foreign Affairs ; 
the Meyer, or Treasurer. Below these in rank, there 
is a great number of officers, as the Minister of Science, 
the Minister of Justice, and Minister of Art and Pub- 
lic Works. Pompous titles are freely bestowed, and 
there is a large number of princes and titled persons 
who may or may not bear any active part in the 
management of affairs, such as ; Yameen id Doulat, 
the Right Hand of the Kingdom; Motamed al Doulat, 
the Reliance of the Kingdom ; Zenat id Doulat, the 
Ornament of the Kingdom ; and the like, of which I 
have counted eighty-three, but there are many more 
than these. All the officers of the State receive sala- 
ries, but depend quite as much upon the profits of 
their office as upon the allowance from the crown. 
The army is organized on the European plan. 

The administration of government is very simple. 



276 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiil 

The governors are held responsible for the control of 
the provinces. They receive appointments from the 
Shah usually on giving a stipulated sum as a bonus. 
They are provided with a ketabtche, or small book, 
containing regulations for the management of the 
affairs of the provinces. The Shah requires of them 
the collection of the taxes and the military quota, and 
the administration of justice in the provinces. The 
taxes are supposed to be collected on certain assess- 
ments made by the order of the crown. It is the 
practice of the king at his option to send two or more 
persons to a province for the purpose of taking a 
record of the taxable property, real and personal. 
This assessment is seldom made, however, owing to the 
fact that it is unpopular and often unsatisfactory. Old 
assessments are therefore adhered to in many places. 
The assessors report to the Mustofe al Mamalak, or 
secretary, who keeps, in Tehran, a record of the as- 
sessments. 

A certain sum is demanded annually of every gov- 
ernor ; the amount being determined by the assess- 
ment. Real estate is taxed only when improved. The 
mode of collection is this : The governor demands 
the tax from lands subject to certain cities or khanates. 
The khans and landlords demand of the governors of 
the village called kathodas, who collect of the people 
of their villages. In cities the kathodas supervise 
the affairs of the mahal or wards. The tax-gatherers 
are sent out by the governor, and they frequently ac- 



xiii.] PERSIAN TAXES. 277 

company the kathodas. Sometimes the kathoda is 
an agent of the landlord. The landlords of villages 
usually collect by their own servants. There are three 
kinds of taxes : The sar, or capitation tax of one 
toman, is levied upon all males capable of labour. The 
question of competency is determined by the elders 
of the village in which the man or child lives. It is 
possible that in their judgment he may be half a man, 
and so obliged to pay one-half the usual head tax. 
The mall tax is levied on all personal property. The 
tax on a cow or other animal of the herds is thirty 
shahees. On sheep and goats the tax is two to four 
shahees per head, and of every household one fowl 
and ten eggs is demanded. Every gardener must give 
to the meer kazab, or executioner, a bundle of whips 
and two shahees in money. The land tax is paid by 
every landowner. It is two karans and ten shahees 
for every rhea of land. This is the land tax paid to 
the king. The tax is about fifty cents on one-fifth of 
an acre. The tax begaree is levied in hunting expe- 
ditions of the king and princes. It means the quar- 
tering of men upon the people or ryots. In these 
excursions provender and food is taken as required, 
free of cost. The total revenue of the king is about 
seven million pounds sterling. 1 Besides the revenue 
of the State, the king has a considerable income from 
the estates of the crown. 

1 The amount of revenue is variously stated ; the estimate depends, in 
part, on the value put upon certain products. 



278 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

The tenure of land is regulated by the religious 
code, and has certain well-established principles. It 
has been said that all lands may be reclaimed at the 
expiration of forty-nine years. By others the limit 
has been set at ninety-nine years ; but expedients are 
devised to avoid the law. Title deeds must be ac- 
knowledged before a well-known mujtaheed or mul- 
lah, and it is the custom that he keep a copy of the 
conveyance. The evidence of title is strengthened by 
the possession of all the conveyances showing the 
chain of title. All classes of people may purchase 
and hold realty, without restraint, except foreigners, 
who may purchase subject to certain restrictions de- 
fined by the treaties. 

Every large town and small city is under the con- 
trol of a hoykim, or governor and judge, who is him- 
self subject to the governor of the province. It is 
frequently the case that the hoykim acts independently 
of his superior. The governors of the cities and of 
the small districts are all appointed by the central 
government ; but these officers are often chosen from 
the owners of the estates. The owner of estates is 
always recognized as the ruler of his own ryots or 
tenants, subject to the right of appeal. The kathoda, 
or overseer of a village, is usually appointed by the 
landowner on request of the tenants. There is no 
uniformity in the extent of authority given to the 
governors. One of the sons of the king is governor 
of a large part of the kingdom. The governors rule 



xin.] THE LA TE SADR AZAM. 279 

by their own caprice, subject to the order of the king. 
It is seldom that they consult any statutes ; but there 
are many checks upon their will, besides the order of 
the Shah. They are in wholesome fear of the land- 
owners and princes, who may have estates within the 
province. Although the king has this absolute power, 
yet he is in fear, and his government is weak. In 
time of extremity, when the people are on the verge 
of rebellion, they are appeased, and he justified, by 
the sacrifice of some Minister of State. He has good 
reason to fear conspiracy, for it is often easily formed. 
The Sadr Azam has in many instances been the 
first of the State officers to feel the displeasure of the 
king and people. The late Sadr Azam was no ex- 
ception to many of his predecessors in this particular. 
It is admitted that he was a man of progressive ideas, 
and seems to have desired the improvement of his 
country. We judge of his public acts, and do not 
speak of his private character. He devised many im- 
provements. It was through his influence that the 
Shah undertook the journey to Europe — the first of 
the shahs of Persia to visit a Christian sovereign. 
But the Sadr Azam excited the hostility of the 
mullahs and the envy of the princes. Soon after the 
Shah and court had left Tehran, a combination was 
formed against him. One of the king's wives was 
conspicuously associated with the conspirators, owing, 
it is said, to hatred felt by this woman toward the 
Sadr Azam. The cause of her dislike is reported to 



280 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

have been the fact that the minister persuaded the 
Shah that it was inexpedient that this lady should 
accompany His Majesty in his tour through Europe. 
On the return of His Majesty he was notified on land- 
ing at Anzile that he must dismiss his Prime Minister. 
The Shah reluctantly complied, and entered Tehran 
without him. In a few weeks several of the ring- 
leaders of the faction were deprived of their offices 
and property, and others became compliant, so that 
the Sadr Azam was recalled, and appointed Minister 
of Foreign Affairs. In 1880 he was degraded and 
sent to Mashhad as governor, where, in 188 1, he died. 
The personal liberty of the ryot is a recognized 
fact of the law. The landlord cannot hold his tenants 
except under contract, and for debt. They have the 
liberty to remove to other villages and to become ten- 
ants of other landowners. There is a scarcity of 
tenants. This is a notable feature of the years imme- 
diately succeeding the famine. It is, I judge, a fact 
at all times, that the agriculturists are not sufficiently 
numerous to meet either the demands of capitalists, if 
Persian landowners may be called such, or the natural 
capabilities of the country for improvement. There 
is no distinction between the legislative, judicial and 
executive departments of government. The king, and 
the landlords, and governors, perform in their several 
degrees of authority, the office of lawgiver and 
judge. The secular ruler alone constitutes the court 
called the oorf. The religious orders of mullahs are 



xiii.] MINOR OFFICIALS— MODE OF TRIAL. 281 

also recognized as judges. They seem not to hold as 
much power as in former years, and there is a ten- 
dency in the government to confine the mullahs 
strictly to religious functions. A mujtaheed or mul- 
lah is, however, now very commonly recognized both 
by the people and governors as a proper judge. This 
court is called sharah, a term meaning the religious 
law. There is no limit to the appeals which a 
complainant may make from one judge to another. 
Yet the judges themselves, for the honour of their own 
name as well as from other motives, are pretty sure to 
see that their decisions are immediately executed. It 
often happens that there is collision between the sec- 
ular and the religious judge. There is, however, a 
mutual fear which prevents any very general rupture 
of the ordinary relations of the two. The mujtaheeds 
usually have a large number of servants and adherents, 
who, at a command, execute the order of their mas- 
ter. A mujtaheed has been known to give a fitwa for 
the death of certain persons. But usually such are 
extreme cases, and the method pursued is not that of 
a regular judicial hearing, but that of a mob. 

The mode of trial is very simple and irregular. If 
it be concerning property, the investigation is more 
formal and protracted. If it be concerning crime, the 
process is more summary. The judge is usually seated 
in a large room and near a very large window, over- 
looking the court. The witnesses are called. Only 
witnesses on one side, or those that testify to having 



282 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xin. 

seen the act. Three witnesses are sufficient for con- 
viction. If the evidence seem clear to the judge, the 
executioner, who stands near, is ordered to inflict pun- 
ishment at once in the court. Whipping is usually- 
done in the court of the governor's palace. Torture 
is sometimes resorted to. Hot copper vessels may be 
held just above the head, or the windows allowed to 
fall on the fingers. A hand or an ear may be cut off! 
The latter is the more usual penalty for theft. Whip- 
ping is most common for offences of a less aggravated 
nature. In case of whipping, the hands of the man 
are tied ; he is thrown upon his back, and his feet are 
tied, and drawn up by a pole held horizontally by two 
men, so that the soles shall be exposed to the blows. 
I have seen permanent arrangements for this in the 
court ; they were pointed to as an indication of the 
temper of the hoykim. The former arrangement is, 
however, the common one. The whips used are 
green switches or sticks. These are laid on to the 
soles and ankles, as ordered by the judge, fifty to one 
thousand. Criminals condemned to death are some- 
times reserved in all the provinces, until a certain day 
and hour determined by the Shah. At the given time 
the execution must take place in all the cities. 

The right of sanctuary is usually conceded, and is, 
in most instances, a cover of crime. The place of 
refuge must be a mosque. In criminal cases I think 
it is invariably a shrine. The degree of security af- 
forded varies with the sacredness of the shrine, and 



xiii.] PLACES OF REFUGE. 283 

this again varies with the rank of the saint interred 
within. The house of a recognized mullah is con- 
sidered an asylum in some instances. The mosque 
of a village is an asylum for some offenders. Whether 
it be such or not, depends upon custom, for here cus- 
tom is the law. I have referred to the asylum afforded 
by the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. The ar- 
rangements here are on an extended scale. The 
mosques of Shah Abd al Azeem, near Tehran, are an 
asylum to which many have fled. I personally knew 
of two Armenians having a disagreement ; one of 
them deliberately planned to kill the other, =<and shot 
him in his own house. The murderer immediately 
fled to Shah Abd al Azeem, where he remained until 
the price of blood had been discounted to the lowest 
amount, when he paid the price, and returned to his 
own home. If, however, the murderer does not escape 
to an asylum, and should be arrested, the judge is 
quite certain to ask if the prosecution will accept the 
price of blood; and it is usually required that he 
shall accept it ; but if the murder have been committed 
under very aggravating circumstances the culprit may 
be strangled or beheaded at once. The price of blood 
is very cheap, if the murdered man be poor. It is 
quite dear if he be rich. It has been fixed as low as 
twenty tomans, and as high as a thousand tomans. The 
rank of the murdered man has much to do in deter- 
mining the price. It is so great with some persons 
that no amount of money can atone for taking life. 



284 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

Debtors are sometimes imprisoned until payment be 
made, or they are whipped. To shun this extremity 
they may escape to a mosque, and on assigning what 
property they have for the benefit of their creditors 
receive a release from the mullah. But this practice 
is less common now than formerly. The more com- 
mon practice is to seize all the property of a debtor. 
If he has none, he is whipped until his friends are 
moved to pay the amount required. It is amazing 
how much bodily pain these people will sometimes 
endure to avoid the loss of money, or shun the pay- 
ment of a just claim. 

The Shah is said to have ordered that sanctuary in 
the house of a mullah shall not be recognized. The 
governor of Khorasan recently took a debtor, by force, 
from the house of a mullah in that city. In 1877 a 
prominent mujtaheed of Koom resisted the order of 
the Shah to increase the taxes. He was the leader of 
a combination of mullahs who excited the populace to 
oppose the assessment. When the Shah sent an order 
for his arrest, the mujtaheed, hearing of this, caused 
some of the officers or messengers of the king to be 
beaten, and then fled to Shah Abd al Azeem, where he 
escaped punishment. The usual way of getting hold 
of those who thus seek to cover up their iniquity is to 
use a decoy to get them out of the mosque. 

The currency is regulated by the order of the Shah. 
No paper money is issued. Shahees, half and quarter 
shahees are the only coins of copper. The shahee 



xin.] MONEY. 285 

has the value, very nearly, of one cent. The silver 
coins are, the karan, half karan, and five shahees. Re- 
cently a piece of the value of two karans has been 
issued. The karan is of the value of one franc. It is 
so called from the name of a cycle of thirty years. 
When a prince has reigned thirty years, it is customary 
for him to issue a coin commemorative of the event. 
On the 9th of July, 1877, at noon, the reigning Shah 
ascended his throne, in state, in commemoration of 
the completion of one cycle since his coronation. 
New karans were minted in honour of the event. There 
is no gold coin other than one toman, and five karan 
pieces. In former years the coins were struck by 
hand, and in the provincial capitals. Since the com- 
pletion of a mint near Tehran, provided with ma- 
chinery brought from Europe, the issue of coins in 
other places has been prohibited. The old coins were 
unalloyed, although it should be said, that the parties 
charged with the mints in the provinces did sometimes 
issue a debased coin alloyed with copper. The de- 
nominations of the money are shahees, karans, and 
tomans ; twenty shahees to the karan, and ten karans 
to the toman. 

The present postal system was organized in 1875. 
Persia was admitted to the Postal Convention, and 
mail matter was carried at the rates determined by the 
Convention. The postal service was begun some 
years previous to this, but was discontinued. A con- 
tract for a large number of postage stamps was made 



286 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

by the Shah's government with a Persian, who was to 
print them by hand from dies furnished by the Shah. 
But it was found that he had printed more than a hun- 
dred thousand for his own benefit, and therefore all 
the stamps were destroyed. This is but one sample 
of the numerous expedients adopted for niching from 
the king. No public trust seems to be kept for a long 
time. The public works, such as roads, telegraphs, 
and buildings, come to ruin in the course of a few years. 
One of the most conspicuous and deplorable features 
of Persian government is the system of bribery called 
rislizva. It is commonly understood that every decision 
of a judge, whether he be of the secular or of the 
religious rulers, must be preceded by a present. 
Whether the decision be favourable or unfavourable 
will depend upon the value of the gift. The present 
is called a pecsh-kash, that is, a thing which leads on, or 
comes before. The word is used to denote that the 
bribe must precede the decision of the court. The 
practice is prevalent among the highest officers of the 
king as well as among the most degraded of the peas- 
antry. An officer of the crown offered to decide a 
certain case in my favour on condition that I would 
give him one hundred tomans. Yet when asked if he 
would give his receipt, very promptly declined. A 
foreigner desired to purchase a building; under the 
treaty he had a right so to do ; but the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs denied the right of the parties to pur- 
chase under Persian law ; but when a present of fifty 



xiii.] SLAVERY. 2S7 

tomans was presented to him in person, he promptly 
ordered the seal of the government to be attached to 
the conveyance. The Accountant of the Kingdom 
offered to secure the remission of certain taxes levied 
on the Armenians of Hamadan, on condition that they 
rive him one hundred tomans and twelve hundred 
bottles of wine. 

The system of slavery is regulated by the religious 
law, the Koran and statutes supposed to be in con- 
formity with it. All prisoners of war and non-Mo- 
hammedans bought with money may be held as 
slaves. At this time white slaves are rare, except the 
children of captives, or persons made captive in former 
years. Many Turkmans may be seen who were slaves. 
Some of the Kurdish tribes sell their daughters. It 
might be thought that this sale by Kurds is intended 
to be a form of marriage only ; but the fact is that 
the girls are purchased to be domestics. Black slaves 
are the more numerous. They are brought from 
Arabia, and most frequently from Mekkah. They are 
purchased by pilgrims, and are negroes of Soudan and 
of the regions south of Soudan. The males become 
eunuchs of the harems, and the females are employed 
as domestics. By Mohammedan law the female slave 
is freed as soon as she becomes a mother. Slave 
dealers frequent the principal cities, and buy and sell 
slaves ; but the demand is not so great as to support 
a public market. Sometimes parties of slaves are 
brought by a dealer to the capital or other city, and 



288 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

the unfortunate blacks are kept in private houses 
where they are stripped naked and inspected by pur- 
chasers. 

The laws regulating marriage and polygamy are 
dependent upon the religious faith of the parties con- 
tracting. The non-Mohammedan races are permitted 
to adhere to the religious laws of the sect to which 
they belong. The secular authorities recognize the 
validity of marriage celebrated by any recognized 
officer of the religious sect to which the parties ad- 
here. Mohammedans are governed by Mohammedan 
law. By that law there are two kinds of marriage. 
One is called ahdah, meaning covenanted, and the other 
is termed sekah, or contracted. A Mohammedan may 
possess four of the first class, and any number of the 
second class. Wives of the first class have priority 
of right, and their children inherit the property of the 
father. But all married women aqree to a divorce, on 
receipt of a price agreed upon in the time of mar- 
riage. It is less common to divorce the ahdah. The 
sekah wives contract for a limited period of time. 
The children of such marriages belong to the father 
if the mother be put away. This arrangement of 
marriage is the source of great corruption. The 
woman often passes from one husband to another in 
the course of a few months. The law provides that 
there shall be an interval between the marriages of 
not less than four months ; but this provision is made 
subject to the option of the prospective husband. The 



xin.] MARRIAGE CEREMONY, 289 

nuptial ceremonies of the second class are very brief, 
and consist in the repetition of a formula by a mullah, 
which sanctifies the transient relation. The legal part 
of all marriage ceremonies is performed by the mul- 
lah, and the parents or guardians of the contracting 
parties. He witnesses the agreement between the 
parents, or their agents, and when the preliminaries 
have been duly arranged he asks the bride if she 
agrees to the marriage. He repeats a prayer or a pas- 
sage of the Koran. The maiden is in the harem. The 
mullah approaches a screen or curtain which separates 
the males and females, and being assured of the 
presence of the bride, asks her consent. The char- 
acter and extent of other ceremonies vary with the 
wealth and inclinations of the parties most concerned. 

There is a wide distinction made between Moham- 
medans and non-Mohammedans in their relations to 
the government. All the people born of subjects owe 
allegiance to the Shah, and are called ryots. The term 
harij is applied to all people not Mohammedans. The 
word means an alien. *The same term is used to denote a 
foreigner. The Guebers, Jews, Armenians and Nesto- 
rians are called harij. The relations of subjects and 
harij to the government are regulated by the precepts 
of the Koran. The statutes of Omar are observed 
according to the caprice of the ruler. 

The harij or aliens have rights as tributaries. It 
was a precept of Mohammed that non-Mohammed- 
ans, who are not idolaters, shall be allowed to enjoy 
19 



290 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xm. 

liberty and to practise their own religion, provided 
they do not aid the enemies of Islam, and provided 
they pay tribute. In ail legal documents to which an 
harij is party, it is customary to designate him as 
mutee Islam, that is, one subject to Islam. I have 
known mullahs decline to put their seal to contracts 
in which the term was wanting. The mutee Islam is 
entitled to the protection of life, property and liberty 
of worship ; but this liberty must not be exercised in 
conflict with practices of the Mohammedans. The 
marriage of aliens and the services of their worship 
maybe forbidden on Mohammedan feast and fast days. 
The rinmnGr of church bells and the erection of 
church spires are now prohibited, as being incom- 
patible with the subject state of tributaries. In former 
years more than now, the harij was subjected to vio- 
lence. This was not sanctioned by law, but was a 
natural result of the laws. In many places an harij 
was not permitted to ride a horse or mule, but might 
ride a donkey. In some places he dare not ride any 
animal, lest he should be pulled off the beast in the 
street. In the markets he must not touch any article 
of food, lest it should be defiled by his touch. In 
Hamadan it was the custom during many years for 
the Mohammedan governor to require and receive of 
the Armenians a present in money, and the fairest 
maiden of the Christian colony. 

The non-Mohammedan sects are separate dependen- 
cies of the Persian government, paying tribute, but 



xin.] RIGHTS OF SUBJECTS. 291 

exempt from the military conscription. The particu- 
lar grievances under which they labour, and which are 
sanctioned by law, are : irregular taxation, exclusion 
from participation in the government, rejection of their 
testimony in the courts, and the alienation of estates 
by marriage with Mohammedans. The testimony of 
a non-Mohammedan is not accepted in the court as 
against a Mohammedan. If a Christian or Jew be- 
comes a Mohammedan he may claim all the estates 
of his father, even though there be other natural 
heirs. Claims made on this ground are common oc- 
currences. It has happened that a Mohammedan has 
married a Christian woman, and by virtue of such 
marriage, has claimed the property of her father's es- 
tate as against all other heirs. 

The rights of the subjects of all other governments 
in Persia are determined by the treaties. It is usual 
to concede to all the privileges accorded to the most 
favoured by treaty. The treaty of Turkman Tchai is 
used as a precedent as to the rights of foreigners. By 
the terms of that treaty, they are entitled to protection ; 
and persons living in the country are entitled to resi- 
dence and premises necessary for the carrying on of 
their business. There is no treaty provision with 
reference to religious liberty, or the rights of for- 
eigners acting in any other capacity than that of mer- 
chants and travellers, although the same rights are 
inferred to belong to foreigners who may not be 
engaged in trade. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Religion of the King and Ruling Races — The Athna Asherain — Review 
of the Rise of the Sect — Abu Beker and the three first Khalafahs — 
Ale and his Assassination — Moaveyah — The Dynasty of the Amme- 
yah — Rise of the Abasidees — Condition of the House of Ale during 
the Reigns of the Khalafahs — Princes of the House of Buyah — 
Suljuks — Hassan Saba and the Assassins — Division of the Country — 
With the Ata Begs — Mogul Princes and their Toleration — The 
Twelve Imams proclaimed by Khodaband — Tamouridees — Rise of the 
House of Ismael or the Sufees — The King of the Sheahs — Supre- 
macy of the Sect of the Athna Asherain — Distinguishing Tenet of the 
Sect — Doctrine as to the Mahde or the Riser — The Babees — Attempt 
to Assassinate the Shah — Death of the Conspirators — Ale Allahees 
— Curious Rites of — Sheikees and Mutasharahees — Sufees — Their 
Philosophical System — Relation of the Founder of the Sufee Dynasty 
to the Imams — Doctrinal Development of the Sect of the Twelve — 
Religious Literature of the Twelve — The Sheah call to Prayer — 
Divine Nature of Ale Claimed — Vicarious Death — The Sayeds — 
Superstitions of the People — The Most Holy Shrines — Celebrated 
Schools of the Sect of the Twelve — Principal Ceremonies — The 
Takeahs and the Tazeahs — Public AssemLlies — Religious Orders — 
Mullahs — Imam Juma — Peesh Namaz — Wais — Mujtaheed — Reve- 
nues — Dervishes — Privileges of the Sayeds — Honorary Titie* Con- 
ferred on Mullahs — Theological Schools — Their Support. 

The religion of the king and ruling races of Persia is 
that of the Mohammedan sect called Athna Asherain, 1 
or the Twelve. It is a subdivision of the Sheah sect. 

1 Pronounced by Persians Asna, also written Athna Ashera and Oshera. 
292 



xiv.] THE ATHNA A SHE RAIN. 293 

The essential doctrines and ceremonies of the Athna 
Asherain cannot be understood without a knowledge 
of the rise and fortunes of the Sheahs. Immediately 
after the death of Mohammed there arose a dissension 
among his four most intimate friends, as to who should 
succeed him as ruler of the Moslems, and as to the 
principles and code of laws by which they should be 
governed. Ale, the son-in-law and cousin of Mo- 
hammed, declared for the hereditary right, and claimed 
the succession on the ground that Fatimah was the 
only surviving child of the prophet, and he himself 
the first spiritual child of Mohammed, since he had 
been first in Mekkah to embrace the new religion. 
He contended that the Koran should be the code of 
laws, which, however, was not then compiled. Abu 
Beker, Omar and Othman claimed that the succession 
should be elective, and the Khalafah should rule in ac- 
cordance with the Koran and the traditional sayings 
of Mohammed. Later it was claimed that the rulings 
of the first Khalafahs should be followed as precedents, 
or a code of laws. The controversy was summarily 
decided by Omar, who declared for Abu Beker, and 
caused the election by the congregation. 

From this time onward the ranks of Islam were 
divided, but the government remained in the posses- 
sion of the advocates of the elective right. When the 
three adherents of this principle had each served as 
Khalafah, and had been removed by poison or assassi- 
nation, Ale was chosen. His election was the signal 



294 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

for rebellion by the military ruler of Syria, Moaveyah 1 
of the house of Ammeyah. The assassination of Ale 
and the dissensions of the Moslems left Moaveyah 
master of the field, and the succession remained in the 
house of Ammeyah for a period of about a hundred 
years, and until this dynasty was overthrown by the 
successful conspiracy in favour of the house of Abas. 
The Abasidees ruled over all the Moslems of Asia until 
the reign of the Suljuk Turks, a. h. 418. 

During all this period the heirs and descendants of 
the house of Ale were distinguished in all countries as 
Sayeds. Numerous aspirants for the khalafate sprang 
up among them, but they were invariably defeated by 
the forces of the reigning Khalafahs, and the represen- 
tatives of this house, who became conspicuous for 
sanctity, learning, and popular esteem, were uniformly 
put out of the way by poison. The house of Ale, 
however, steadily gained adherents among the Per- 
sians, and opponents of the Arab control, and some 
of the rulers of the provinces openly favoured the pre- 
tensions of the Sayeds. The princes of the line of 
Buyah, who began to rule in Fars and Irak, A. H. 392, 
though tributary to the Abasidees, favoured the Sheahs, 
and Asad al Doulat restored the buildings at Najaf 
over the grave of Ale. The last of this dynasty died 
A. h. 448. The princes of Ghaznah were Sunees. They 
ceased to rule a.h. 583. The Suljuk Turks began to 

1 This name, — as quite every other proper name, — is written in differ- 
ent ways by Persian writers, and in several ways by the same author. 



Xiv.] THE ASSASSINS. 295 

reign in Persia A. h. 416. About this time Togrul Beg 
and his army embraced the religion of the Koran. 
He overthrew the dynasty of Buyah, conquered Per- 
sia, and took the capital of the Abasidees, Bagdad. 
He practised the religion of the Sunee Mohammedans. 
In the reign of his grand-son Malek Shah, a.h. 485, 
the famous assassin Hassan, Saba, a. h. 483, established 
the sect of the Ismaelites. They were so named from 
Ismael the son of Imam Jafir. The so-called " Old 
Man of the Mountain," Hassan, was the first of the 
Sheahs to head a successful revolt, and to establish a 
dynasty of the Aleites in Persia. 

The Suljuk dynasty ceased in a.h. 636, and Persia 
was divided between the sway of the Assassins and the 
Ata Beg princes until the fall of the several branches 
of the latter. The Assassins ruled, especially in North- 
ern Persia, for a period of a hundred and sixty years, 
and until they were exterminated by Huluku Khan, 
A. d. 1253. The Mogul princes were Theists,and toler- 
ated both Islam and Christianity. Of this line, Abaka 
and Argun were Christians, but Khodaband, the son 
of the latter, caused the oration of Friday, delivered in 
the mosques, to be proclaimed in the name of the 
twelve Imams, throughout the kingdom. The Mogul 
dynasty was succeeded by that of Tamour, which con- 
tinued from a.d. 1387 to 1447, and was followed by a 
reign of anarchy while the princes of the various 
Turkish tribes contended for supremacy. In a.d. 
1468, Sultan Hassan Beg, after subduing a rival clan, 



295 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

became ruler. He married Despina, a daughter of 
Kalo-Johannes, emperor of Trebizond. A daughter 
by this marriage named Martha became the wife of 
Sultan Haidar, a descendant of the seventh Imam. A 
son of Haidar and Martha named Ismael established 
an independent government at Ardabil during the 
years of anarchy. His arms were successful, and in 
A. d. 1499 he was proclaimed Shahe Sheahan, or king 
of the Sheahs. He obtained possession of all Persia, 
and founded the house of the Sufee l dynasty and 
with it the sect of the Sheahs, called the sect of 
the Twelve Imams, which has remained until the 
present time the prevalent religion of the princes and 
people of Persia. The essential and distinguishing 
tenet of this sect is that by the command of Mo- 
hammed, the right to supreme spiritual and secular 
rule was possessed by the eldest living representative 
of Ale, until and including the twelfth generation. 
These representatives are believed to have been Ale, 
Hassan, Hosein, Ale called Zain al Abadeen, Bakir, 
Jafir, Mosa, Reza, Takke, Ale, Hassan [Askare] and 
Mohammed, called al Mahde. The last when a 
child, and while pursued by the executioners of the 
Abasidee Khalafah, disappeared in a well in the court 
of his paternal home. He did not die, but remains 
concealed. He is to make two revelations of him- 
self. He is the true Mahde, who, when he shall 
appear, will be entitled to absolute rule over the 

1 Written also Sufevee, Sufeveah and Sefavee by Persian writers. 



xiv.] THE BABEES. 297 

world. He is therefore called kaim or the riser, and 
Lord of the Time. 

The doctrine of the Mahde has given abundant oc- 
casion for the pretensions of impostors. Many have 
appeared claiming to be the Mahde. The most con- 
spicuous of these in modern times is one known as 
the Bab, and who has given rise to the sect known as 
the Babees in Persia. This sect originated with one 
called Mirza Ale Mohammed, the son of a merchant 
of Shiraz, where he was born in 1 8 19. He manifested 
strong religious proclivities in early manhood ; studied 
at the schools of Najaff for a time, and followed the 
life of a dervish. The Arabic word bab means a door, 
gate and way. He first professed to be the door to 
the Mahde, in the sense of a forerunner, to prepare the 
way for the coming of that Imam. It is asserted by 
Persian writers that he gradually abandoned this as- 
sumption, and professed to be the Mahde himself, and 
after a time, he set up the bold claim of being an in- 
carnation of the Supreme God. Whatever in fact his 
own doctrines as to his own nature may have been, 
the last claim is that which is now adopted by the 
Babees of Persia. His adherents were flushed with 
the success of the new pretension, and asserted the 
right of the Bab to temporal rule. If this were 
denied, yet it must be a natural result of their tenets. 
Judging by an examination of their books and by 
conversations had with teachers of this sect, I under- 
stand that their chief tenet relates to the doctrine of 



298 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

the Divine manifestations. They hold the unity of 
these in all ages. The Divine person was in Moses, 
Christ and Mohammed and is now in the Bab. Birth 
and death is the law of human life, therefore, every 
incarnation of Deity is in accord with this law. 
Hence the Bab is born and must die to human appear- 
ance. They hold that God must at all times be in 
the world. He has always been present in a bodily 
form. The natural death of the body is only the step 
or means to another manifestation by means of another 
body. In all that these religionists set up there is 
apparently an absurd collection of contradictory tenets, 
and the real claims for the Bab are obscured by high- 
sounding words and unintelligible sentences. 

The doctrine which appealed to the people and 
made adherents was simply this one of the Mahde, 
and the investment of the Mahde with Divine prerog- 
atives. In the imagination of all who accepted him, 
the visible kingdom of God had come, and brought 
with it the right of all Babees to inherit the world. 
The doctrine of the Babees is adapted to the doctrine 
of Divine manifestation as held by all religions. The 
books of this sect are made up of quotations from the 
New Testament and from the Koran. Yet there is 
great diversity of doctrine among the Babees them- 
selves. They are one of the most numerous sects in 
Persia, and their tenets have found many advocates in 
quite all the countries of Asia. The assumption of 
the Babees alarmed the mullahs and the government. 



xiv.] THE BABEES. 299 

Active measures were devised to suppress the sect. 
The Babees took up arms in defense, and assumed the 
aggressive. Ale Mohammed was, after long imprison- 
ment, given the form of trial in Tabriz, and being con- 
demned, was publicly shot in that city. The public 
executioners and Persian soldiers objected to taking 
any part in the execution owing to the assumed sacred 
character of the Bab, but the order was executed by a 
number of soldiers, in the public square of Tabriz. 
The Babees were engaged in many places with the 
government troops. I have related their conduct 
in Zengan. In the province of Mazandaran they 
made a fierce resistance for some months. The affair 
at Zengan occurred in 185 1. In the following year a 
conspiracy was formed for the assassination of the 
Shah. It is the custom of the Persian king to permit 
the presentation of petitions to himself in the street. 
As the Shah was riding near the summer palace Nea- 
varan, he was met by four men, one of whom was 
permitted to approach the Shah. The assassin at- 
tempted to seize the king, for the purpose, doubtless, 
of dragging him from his horse ; but failing in this, 
he fired a pistol, the shot of which inflicted a slight 
wound in the thigh of the king. The conspirators 
were seized and put to death. There followed a gen- 
eral persecution of the sect, and until the present 
time the profession or proof of the Babee faith has 
been considered cause sufficient for the infliction of 
the penalty of death. 



300 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

Mirza Hosein Ale, of the province of Mazandaran, 
and for a time a resident of Tehran, was an agent or 
vakiel of the Bab at the time of the death of that 
man in Tabriz. He escaped from Tehran, but was 
arrested in Constantinople, and during several years 
has been confined at Akka, in Syria. He professed to 
be the Bab, and is very generally recognized by all 
who now hold to the tenets of that sect in Persia. In 
this fortress he receives the contributions of the faith- 
ful, professes to work a miracle in proof of his divin- 
ity by writing a thousand letters in an incredible short 
space of time, and sends his decrees to kings and peo- 
ple in many places. 

One of the most prominent sects of the Persian 
Sheahs is the Ale Allahees. They contend that as 
the name denotes, Ale, the husband of Fatimah, is 
God. The more moderate of them claim, however, 
no more than the possession by Ale of the Divine 
nature. The Ale Allahees are believed, however, not 
to be a sect of purely Mohammedan origin, but they 
appear to hold mysterious rites and tenets, which seem 
to refer their origin to a heathen source. It is not 
apparent that they have any clearly defined system of 
religious faith. The only tenet which appears to be 
held with distinctness is that of the divine nature and 
right of Ale. Their curious dance around the fire 
would seem to indicate some connection with fire 
worship, but it may be accounted for as being no more 
than a social custom. 



xiv.] THE SUFEES. 301 

Two prominent sects are the Sheikees and the 
Mutasharahees. The former name is derived from a 
celebrated Sheik who taught in Kerman. He repre- 
sents the authority of reason in addition to, or in oppo- 
sition to, revelation. His principles are believed to be 
atheistic in their tendency. The Mutasharahees repre- 
sent the adherents to the law or letter of the Koran, 
as the perfect and absolute rule of faith and conduct. 

The Sheah sect, which has been most widely influ- 
ential in Persia, is that of the Sufees. It gained 
ascendency with Ismael, the founder of the Sufevean 
dynasty. The sect is known by its religious alliance 
and religious tenets, but rests in fact upon a philo- 
sophical system, and yet retains enough of the ancient 
philosophy to indicate its origin in the sect of the 
Sophists. The system begins with an acknowledg- 
ment of religions and manifestation of God, but ends 
with a denial of his personality. It is quite impossi- 
ble to find any clearly defined system of philosophy 
or theology, which all the so-called Sufees will accept ; 
but it is conceded that the essential doctrine as known 
at the present day is the supremacy of reason. The 
sect is known more by the absence of any clear sys- 
tem of doctrine than by the possession of one, and 
has found favour with the public chiefly through 
the political acts and power of its principal adherents. 

The sect of the Twelve Imams was brought to su- 
preme power in Persia by virtue of the blood relation- 
ship of the founder of the Sufee dynasty to the Imams, 



302 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

and the evident ambition of that prince to found a 
National religion. The doctrinal development of the 
sect of the Twelve is, however, to be referred to an 
earlier date than the rise of the Sufeveans. It is a 
gradual growth out of the history and traditions of 
the early days of Islam. 

Persians affirm that Hajah Nasir id Deen, of Tus, 
was the first person who collected the religious tradi- 
tions of the Sheahs. He lived in the reign of Huluku 
Khan. It is said that he was incited to compose his 
books by his dislike of the Assassins. Hassan Saba, 
lived one hundred and sixty years before the work of 
Nasir was composed. He had evidently considered 
the question of the succession when as yet no such 
system as that of the Twelve had been matured. He 
declared for Ismael, the son of Jafir, three hundred 
and forty-seven years after the death of that Imam. 
Nasir's work is virtually a compendium of the tradi- 
tions and history of the Imams. He advocates the 
succession of the Twelve, and his book forms the 
written authority most commonly consulted. There 
has been a continuous growth of literature relating to 
the Twelve Imams, and the authorship of a few books 
now extant has been referred to them. 

The religious literature of the Persians consists 
chiefly of works treating of theology and the ceremo- 
nies of worship, of orations and poems celebrating 
the virtues of the first Imams, and books of traditions. 
They have also many histories and treatises upon rhet- 



xiv.] MOHAMMEDAN THEOLOGY. 303 

oric and philosophy. The doctrine of the divine right 
of Ale, and his eleven successors forms the principal 
ground of the doctrinal and ceremonial differences 
between the Sheahs and the Sunees. This has caused 
the addition to the confession of faith declared in the 
azon or call to prayer: there is no God but God, Moham- 
med is the prophet of God and Ale is the agent \yakief\ 
of God. The term vakiel used in this confession, appears 
to mean vicegerent, or one acting with full powers 
for another. The Imams therefore in this creed were 
deemed infallible popes. This supreme authority rests 
now with the Mahde and, fortunately for the world, 
cannot lawfully be claimed by any other person. The 
high position given to Ale and the first three Imams 
has driven many of the people nigh to idolatry. The 
orthodox Sheahs deny the participation of Ale in the 
divine nature, and say that he was human, but invested 
with high spiritual prerogatives. These powers are 
such as to offer an analogy to the Christian doctrine 
of atonement. The death of Ale or of Hosein is vi- 
carious say they, to all who believe in them, and Mo- 
hammed and his successors are all sufficient mediators. 
Yet this claim is set up only as an answer to Chris- 
tians who argue the need of an atonement. The 
doctrine of a vicarious death does not" form any part 
of Mohammedan theology and faith. 

The numerous progeny of Ale are honoured with 
the title of Sayed, and distinguished by the green 
turban from all other men. In the course of centuries 



304 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 



the sayeds have furnished many martyrs ; for all who 
have died by the hand of the enemies of the succes- 
sion have been honoured with the title of Shahid or 
martyr. The tombs of these witnesses are conspicu- 
ous objects upon hill and mountain side, and in many 
villages of the plains and valleys. The graves are 
covered with a tower of brick-work, or with a mosque. 
The roof of these is usually a dome of enameled 
tiling. These sacred places are shrines whither the 
people of the village and surrounding country resort, 
and whence they think a stock of merit is derived by 
the Zearat. This rite consists in going around the 
tomb, and kissing the brick or iron covering, while 
repeating prayers and passages of the Koran. These 
shrines are thought by the superstitious people to 
possess miraculous powers, and a bit of paper or a 
handkerchief which has been consecrated by contact 
with the tomb is believed to possess the power of heal- 
ing diseases, or of forecasting the future. Quite every 
shrine has its traditions of wonderful events brought 
about by the sacred remains interred within. The 
most holy shrines of the Athna Asherain are the tombs 
of Hosein at Karbalah, of Ale at Najaf, of Imam 
Reza in Khorasan, and Fatimah the sister of Reza in 
Koom. Multitudes of pilgrims resort to these places. 
Mekkah and Madenah are the most holy shrines com- 
mon to both Sunees and Sheahs. The most cele- 
brated schools of the Sheahs are at Najaf and Kar- 
balah. Extensive and costly buildings have been 



xiv.] S FIE AH CEREMONIES. 305 

erected in these places, and Sheah youth from every 
quarter resort hither. 

The most popular and distinguished ceremonies of 
the Sheahs are those designed to commemorate the 
death of the third Imam Hosein. Ale was slain by 
an assassin in the mosque of Kufah near Najaf. 
Hassan, the eldest son of Ale and Fatimah, was pois- 
oned at Madenah, and Hosein with seventy-two ad- 
herents, while on his way from Madenah to Kufah, was 
attacked, by the order of the Khalafah of Damascus, 
and he and his male attendants were slain at Karbalah 
on the tenth day of the month Moharam. The 
bodies of the Imam and his comrades were trampled 
under the feet of the enemies' horses, and after the 
decapitation of the leaders were interred where they 
fell. The place of burial was early the resort of the 
friends of the house of Ale, as a place of pilgrimage 
and wailing. The month of Moharam has been set 
apart by the Sheahs as a season of mourning. Trained 
bands of men march through the streets on the days 
of this month, beating their breasts in unison with the 
repetition of the names of Hassan and Hosein. They 
carry a standard, having on the top a hand pointing 
upward. Small children sometimes march with these 
men, shouting the names of Hassan and Hosein. But 
the beating the breast is attended with danger, and the 
slapping of the hands together may disable the men 
so that the performance could not be continued for a 

long time ; therefore, blocks of wood are carried in 
20 



306 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

the hands, and struck together as a substitute for 
smiting the hands and breast. 

Theatrical representations of the tragic events in the 
lives of the Imams, are performed, and pathetic stories 
are read to crowds of people assembled for the pur- 
pose of commemorating these events. Extensive 
buildings are constructed, called Takeahs, for these 
performances. On the tenth day, called Katie, or the 
murder, bands of men march through the streets, with 
head and feet bare, and their bodies covered with 
white sheets, and carrying, each one, a cimeter with 
which he strikes his head, causing the blood to run 
down upon the face and over the white cloth with 
which he is covered. It sometimes happens that one 
or more of these men fall in the street from loss of 
blood ; and some have been known to cleave their 
own heads with a single stroke of the cimeter, in a 
moment of frenzy. It should be said that the mullahs 
profess to disapprove of these exhibitions, yet many 
of them are present in the Takeah, and some are most 
actively engaged in supervising arrangements for the 
public demonstrations. The people continue in these 
assemblies during the day, and until a late hour of the 
night. Food is provided for the crov/d by the patron 
of the Takeah. The provision consists of large quan- 
tities of boiled rice. 

The religious orders of the Sheahs, are in the main 
the same as those of other Mohammedan sects. The 
several grades of the religious orders are compre- 



Xiv.] SHEAHS— RELIGIOUS ORDERS. 307 

hended under the one term Mullah. The word means 
a learned person. He who would be a first-class mul- 
lah must spend many years in acquiring an education. 
This purpose is accomplished by attending the lectures 
of some eminent teacher of Najaf or Karbalah. No 
other regulations are to be complied with, and no 
license is to be obtained, and no ordination required. 
Any one who so chooses may be a mullah. Whether 
a man is qualified or not is to be determined by the 
people, and his popularity. The fact that a person has 
given himself to the sacred office secures no right or 
title to anything except to an allowance from the rev- 
enues of the school where he may be studying. The 
young mullah or candidate for the office may wear 
the white turban at his pleasure. When the customary 
course of study has been completed, even then the 
mullah may find no mosque in which to officiate. He 
must therefore make a living by some secular pursuit. 
If he is the friend of a prince or a rich man, his patron 
may obtain for him the control of a mosque, or a pro- 
fessorship in a college. If he presides over a mosque, 
he is called an imam juma. If the owner of a 
mosque, or if a congregation appoint him to lead the 
devotions, he is called a peesh namaz. If he devotes 
his whole time to preaching he is called a wais. If 
the people esteem him as one very wise, and resort to 
him to act as a judge in their disputes, he is called a 
mujtaheed, the most honourable distinction which can 
be secured. If he be employed in any one of these 



308 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 

capacities he receives a stipend from the revenues of 
the mosque. These revenues are made up of the 
tenths given for the poor, and the fifths given for the 
support of the religious orders. In addition to these 
there are endowments and voluntary contributions. 

As the mullah comes to his office without any- 
regular law to which he must conform, so he may lay 
aside the functions of his office at pleasure. Some 
mullahs attain to great celebrity for learning and 
piety. Some become very rich. The greater number, 
however, are poor, and disappointed with the world 
and their callings. The sleek, fortunate and well-fed 
are contented, and are the pillars of the faith. Some 
of these men are noted preachers, and draw large 
crowds to hear, in the mosques, where for a season 
they may preach. The mullah may officiate at funerals 
and at marriage solemnities. ' At the former, he reads 
or recites passages from the Koran, and may deliver 
a eulogy on the character of the deceased if he be 
desired so to do. He may lead the funeral proces- 
sion to the place of burial. These men are by no 
means so rude as the low grade of the civilization of 
the country might reasonably lead one to think them 
to be. The more successful among them manifest 
great care in their persons, dress and manners. In all 
places and with all ranks of the people, they are dis- 
tinguished for superior knowledge. 

The dervishes are religious tramps. They form 
societies similar to the monastic orders of the Romish 



xiv.] SHEAHS— RELIGIOUS ORDERS. 309 

Church. The members of the different orders are 
distinguished by peculiarities of dress and manner. 
Some of the dervishes are men of learning and of 
good social standing. Others of them are persons of 
filthy appearance, having the hair very long and wear- 
ing tattered garments. Men of this class frequent the 
public places, where they recite passages from the 
poets to the people gathered in the bazaars and mai- 
dons. They usually carry a large shell or basket in 
which to receive contributions in money, and bear a 
curious club and hatchet. Most dervishes are eaters 
of opium, and given to the use of hasheesh and arak. 
They ostensibly lead lives of self-sacrifice. They pro- 
fess to have forsaken the world, but that renunciation 
consists in wearing rude garments, and avoiding the 
pursuits of other men. This life of idleness is sancti- 
fied by the notion that religious merit is obtained by 
it ; yet some of the dervishes are learned men, and 
some have been noted poets. 

The term sayed is given to all the posterity of Ale . 
and Fatimah. The name, however, does not carry 
any title to office. The term rosa khan denotes the 
readers of pathetic poems and eulogies. The call for 
readers at the Takeahs, and places of mourning for 
the Imams, has given rise to an order of persons who 
devote themselves to this occupation. 

Honorary titles are given by the Shah and princes 
to personal favourites among the religious orders and 
to popular speakers. The term Sadr al Olama denotes * 



3io THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xiv. 



" the first of the mullahs." Nezom al Olama is " one who 
governs the orders of the mullahs." Sadr al Wakoff 
is "one set as the chief over the bequests." Sultan al 
Zakiren is " the king of the readers." Bulbule Zakiren 
is " the nightingale of the readers." These titles convey- 
no rights, and are multiplied according to the fancy 
and will of the king and princes. Schools for the in- 
struction of young men in the usual studies of a theo- 
logical course are connected with one or more mosques 
in every considerable city. In some cases these schools 
are liberally endowed by legacies. The teachers of 
such schools are appointed by the owner or patron of 
the mosque. The teachers depend upon the influence 
of their names, or of the patronage they can offer, to 
attract pupils to the school. A public teacher is ex- 
pected to establish a reputation for learning. To do 
so he must obtain scholars. It is usual, therefore, for 
the teacher to provide means for the support of all 
who prosecute the study of theology with him. In 
most cases both teachers and students depend upon 
the revenues of the mosque. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Remnants of Captive Races, or the Non-Mohammedan Sects of Persia — 
The Guebers — Zardosht or Zoroaster — Earliest Condition of Zoro- 
astrianism — Number of the Guebers — Chief Tenets — Towers of Si- 
lence — Public Worship — Future Punishment — Morals — Virtues — The 
Jews of Persia — Number — Religious Affinities — Corruption of Religion 
and Language — Disreputable Pursuits — The Armenians — Number — 
Origin — Skeptics — Antiquity of the Armenian Race — The Ecclesiasti- 
cal Rule — Introduction of Christianity to the Country — Gregory — 
Ecclesiastical System — Separation from the Catholic Church — Inven- 
tion of Letters and Translation of the Scriptures — Orders of the 
Clergy — Ordination and Marriage of the Clergy — Doctrinal System — 
Feast and Fast Days — Marriage — Armenian Colonies — The Captives 
of 1603 — Passage of the Aras — Settlements — Priests — Influence of 
Armenians — Distinguishing Features of the Race. 

The masses of the people of Persia are of the sect of 
the Twelve Imams. But there are remnants of captive 
races which represent other religions. For convenience 
of designation these maybe called non-Mohammedan. 
They are the Fire-worshippers, the Jews, the Nestorians 
and the Armenians. A few Georgians are dispersed 
among the Mohammedans; but the number is too 
insignificant to justify any further notice of them than 
has been taken in previous pages. All these remnants 
of ancient people are supposed to number about one 
hundred and thirty thousand souls. 

3" 



312 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

The Guebers are commonly known to Europeans 
and Americans by the name Fire-worshippers. The 
Mohammedans call them Atashparast, which is a 
literal translation of the term adopted by Europeans. 
They also apply to them the name Gueber. The 
people of this sect call themselves Zardoshteon, which 
means the adherents of Zoroaster, who by his disciples 
is called Zardosht. In India they are known as Par- 
sees. Originally this term was used to denote Per- 
sians, but it is now applied to fire-worshippers, and 
Persians of the Mohammedan sect are designated by 
other words. The Guebers discard the term fire- 
worshippers, and deny that they give any worship to 
that element. The origin of the religion of the Gue- 
bers is referred to Zardosht. It is not known in what 
period he lived. His adherents claim great antiquity 
for his books, but they are dependent upon European 
scholars for whatever definite opinions they may ob- 
tain on the subject. They naturally incline to the 
opinion which assigns the greatest antiquity to their 
religion. 

It has been thought that there were two distinguished 
persons having the name Zardosht. Persian writers 
refer the birth of one person of that name to several 
cities. It is, however, commonly believed that he was 
born in either the city which occupied the site of Ra 
or that which stood where Oroomiah is now located. 

It is conjectured that, at the first, the Zoroastrian 
faith was a pure Theism — that there was a corruption 



xv.] THE GUEBERS— BELIEFS. 313 

of that faith by contact with Magianism, and that there 
was a reform under the lead of a second Zoroaster. 
The representatives of this system of religion in Per- 
sia do not number more than four or five thousand 
souls. The greater part of these are settled in and 
near the city of Yezd, in the desert of Khorasan. A 
thousand are said to be in Kerman. A few merchants 
and labourers reside in Tehran, Kashan and Ispahan. 
Those living in Yezd are occupied with agriculture 
and manufactures. They are distinguished from other 
Persians by some peculiarities of costume, but es- 
pecially by speech, social customs, and religious wor- 
ship, and that bearing and manner which appear to 
be the result of their peculiar faith. 

It should not be thought that the Guebers have any 
very clearly defined ideas of religious belief, except of 
the most general nature. Their separation from other 
people, and their preservation, is due to adherence to 
a few traditions and ceremonies. They are the most 
exclusive people in Persia, and are looked upon by 
the average Persian with somewhat of superstitious 
fear, as if they were capable of exerting a baneful in* 
fluence by mysterious rites. They believe in the 
existence of one supreme God ; the existence of an 
evil principle ; the immortality of the soul ; the merit 
of good works, and have a reverential regard, amount- 
ing to worship, for the four elements. The conception 
of the supreme Deity as now expressed by the Zoro- 
astrians is affected by the Mohammedan and Christian 



3H THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

assertion of the divine nature. They appear to agree 
with the Mohammedan and Christian in the belief in 
the existence of an Evil Spirit. The doctrine of the 
resurrection of the body is unknown, and if suggested, 
is denied, except so far as it may be confounded with 
the belief in the transmigration of souls. The most 
conspicuous feature of the creed of the Guebers is the 
reverence of the earth, air, fire and water. This 
might be thought to be a remnant of a worship of 
the elements. The fact has given rise to two remark- 
able practices : The adoration of the sacred fire and 
the exposure of the dead. They deny that the fire is, 
in any true sense, considered by them an object of 
worship. They compare their use of it in worship to 
the use of the cross in Christian assemblies, and say 
that they hold it to be a symbol only, and the most 
appropriate representation or emblem of the divine 
nature. 

The reverence for the elements is again expressed 
in the construction of towers for the final disposal of 
their dead. The object sought in these structures is 
to shun, so far as possible, contaminating earth and 
air and water. The towers are, in all places, con- 
structed on one plan. That near Tehran is a fair 
sample of structures of its kind. It is built on a crag 
of a mountain overlooking the plain of Tehran, and 
is about six miles distant from that city, and is near 
the ruins of Ra. The exterior is a round wall about 
twenty feet high, covered with a white plaster. The 



xv.] THE GUEBERS—MODE OF BURIAL. 315 

interior is constructed with a floor of masonry, about 
six feet below the top of the wall. This upper section 
of wall serves as a parapet. The floor is made with 
niches in the mason-work large enough to hold a 
body, and about one foot deep. In these the dead 
bodies are placed, so that the face of the dead shall be 
toward the north. In the centre of the pavement is 
an opening or pit. The niches are made in rows 
about the pit. When the flesh has been plucked by 
the vultures, the bones are burned in the niches, and 
whatever remains is thrown into the pit. It happens 
here, as in many other things, that the theory is not 
entirely practicable. The birds do not eat all the 
flesh. There is therefore much left to be disposed of 
by human device. The cremation, for some reason, is 
imperfectly done. In fact there is no adequate arrange- 
ment for so difficult a task. The result is that the 
central pit presents a mass of human bones and flesh. 
The climate, however, is such as to mitigate the evil. 
The intense sunlight and heat of summer brings every 
lifeless body to the dryness of a mummy, or pulver- 
izes it to dust. 

Public worship by the Guebers cannot be held 
without a feast. These assemblies are very rarely 
held. The bestowal of the girdle is the formal act of 
consecration. The Gueber professes to believe in a 
place of future punishment, and he teaches that good 
deeds will be rewarded. He holds that no atonement 
is necessary and that God will pardon sin as the reward 



316 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

of repentance. There is no great difference between 
the Guebers and other Orientals in morals. It has been 
said that they are more truthful than others ; on the 
other hand, it is said by persons best acquainted with 
them, that chastity is but lightly esteemed among 
them. It is possible that their seclusion and numer- 
ical weakness may tend to the cultivation of the virtues 
of industry and economy in an unusual degree. 

The Jews of Persia are dispersed in many villages 
and cities. By statistics gathered in time of the great 
famine, there were found to be in all the kingdom about 
fifty thousand Jews. 1 They refer their settlement in 
that country to the time of the Babylonian captivity. 
They differ in no essentials of religious faith and wor- 
ship from their co-religionists in other parts of the 
world. The Hebrew scriptures are carefully preserved 
and taught in the schools. The Jews of Persia have 
much £o do with the people in Bagdad, and they 
acknowledge the authority of the chief rabbi in 
Jerusalem. 

The dispersion of this people, continued through so 
many centuries, has caused them to adopt some Mo- 
hammedan customs, and has resulted in a loss of the 
Hebrew as a spoken language. A few of this people 
speak the language of the sacred books, but the most 
part of them use a jargon composed of Persian and 
Hebrew words. Yet all speak the Persian, and some 

1 In 1873 the Jewish taxpayers represented 3480 families, living in 
forty-three cities. 



xv.] THE ARMENIANS— NUMBER. 317 

are good readers and writers. They are all poly- 
gamists, either in theory or fact, and the law of 
divorce is essentially that of the Mohammedans. In 
every place the Jews follow the most disreputable 
pursuits. The Falgeer Khanah, or house of incanta- 
tion and fortune-telling, is common with them, and is 
frequented chiefly by Mohammedans. As the use of 
wine and arak by a Mohammedan is attended with 
danger of detection and punishment, the Jews estab- 
lish in their own quarters houses for drinking, where 
Mohammedans and Jews secretly indulge in drink 
and revelry. The largest settlements of Jews are in 
Tehran, Hamadan and Ispahan. 

The Armenians number in Persia about thirty or 
thirty-five thousand souls. With a few exceptions 
they are remnants of the captive colonies brought from 
Armenia by the kings of Persia. It is quite impossible 
to understand the religious faith and the spirit of the 
Armenians, without a fair knowledge of their history, 
for their religion is more distinctly national than that 
of any other people of antiquity now existing in any 
considerable numbers, and the religious faith owes 
somewhat of its perpetuity to the national feeling. 
Many of the Armenians are skeptics, yet they conform 
to the observances of the church as being in their 
opinion essential to the preservation of the Armenian 
race, language and customs. Considering this people 
as a part of the population of Persia, I shall be justified 
in giving a brief account of their history and religion. 



318 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

The great antiquity of the Armenian race is con- 
ceded. Their history begins with that of the first 
races inhabiting the countries of Western Asia. The 
regions about Mount Ararat were the first possessions 
of this people, and have contained their most noted 
cities, Artashat, Tigranakert, Erwandakert, Valarsha- 
pat, Ane, Duin, and Etchmiadzin. Armenian writers 
claim that the race sprung from Togarmah, the son 
of Gomar, grandson of Noah. Aram, the fifth king, 
gave his name to the people and the country. The 
first dynasty continued for a period of one thousand 
seven hundred and seventy-nine years, and covered 
the era of the greatest prosperity of the nation. In 
the year b. c. 328, the country fell under the power 
of Alexander the Great, and was governed by the 
Selucidse until B. c. 149, when the nation came under 
the control of the Parthian dynasty. The Parthians 
ruled the land during five hundred and eighty years, 
or to a. d. 428. In these years the possession of 
the country was often disputed by the Romans. 
The fall of the Parthian power in Persia preceded the 
overthrow of the Arsacidse in Armenia by near two 
hundred years. The Sassanian succeeded the Parthian 
kings in Persia, and made frequent incursions upon 
Armenia. The Armenians were forced to contend 
with Rome, and with the Greek Empire. The Persian 
power finally prevailed, and extinguished the Arsa- 
cidae, A. d. 428. 

Armenia was then ruled by Armenian prefects, who 



xv.] THE ARMENIANS— RULERS. 319 

were appointed by the foreign kings who happened 
to obtain possession of the country. The land was 
frequently overrun by Romans, Greeks and Moham- 
medans until A. d. 885. From this period until A. D. 
1079 Armenia was ruled by the prefects known as the 
Bagratian nobles, who were tributary to the Khalafahs 
of Bagdad. This rule was succeeded by the Rubinian 
princes, who established themselves in Cilicia, while 
the country to the east was ruled by the Tartar and 
Turkish hordes. The last of this line of princes, Leo 
VI., was taken prisoner A. d. 1375, and Cilicia fell under 
the power of Sultan Ashraf, of Egypt, and passed 
from the control of the sultans of Egypt to the Otto- 
man Turks. After the extinction of the Armenian 
political power their history as a distinct people fol- 
lows the succession of the pontiffs of the Armenian 
Church. 

Tradition refers the introduction of Christianity to 
Armenia, to the conversion of King Abgarus, one of 
the Parthian princes, and to the preaching of the 
apostles Thaddaeus and Bartholomew. It is conceded 
by Gibbon, that Armenia " was the first nation which 
embraced Christianity." We have no reliable means 
of ascertaining the progress of Christianity in that 
country during the first two hundred years after Christ. 
Definite history begins with Gregory the Illuminator. 
He is called the restorer of Christianity in Armenia. 

By his influence King Tiridates, and the whole na- 
tion were led to embrace the Christian religion, and 



320 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

this has been the national faith ever since. Gregory 
was the first catholikos or pontiff of the Armenian 
Church. The pontificate remained in his family until 
A. D. 440. The pontificate of Etchmiadzin has been 
in time past, as now, the first in importance. 

The ecclesiastical government of the Armenians is 
Episcopal. The separation of this from the Catholic, 
or general church, occurred as early as a. d. 366. 
Arsaces the Second assembled a council in which 
Nierses was constituted the Supreme Catholikos of the 
Armenians. The object of the king and princes was 
to separate from the sea of Caesarea, to which, since 
the time of Gregory, the Armenian pontiffs had been 
subject. The canons of the new national church were 
determined by councils composed of the clergy and 
princes. Soon after the formation of the national 
church, the Armenian alphabet was formed by the 
monk Mesrop, A. d. 406. A few years later the entire 
scriptures were translated into the language of Armenia, 
and led to the disuse of versions in foreign tongues. 

The orders of the clergy in the Armenian Church 
are seven ; by some they are said to be nine. Arme- 
nian writers say seven corresponding to the seven sac- 
raments. Beginning with the lowest in rank, they are, 
doorkeepers, readers, exorcists, candlelighters, half 
deacons, deacons and priests. The seventh order is 
subdivided and includes four higher offices, namely, 
bishop, archbishop, patriarch, and catholikos. The 
higher offices must be filled by promotion from the 



xv.] THE ARMENIANS— CLERGY. 321 

lower. Every church should have three secular 
agents, two of whom must be laymen, and the third a 
priest. All members of the four lower orders may 
marry, but celibacy is required in the remaining three 
orders. Marriage does not prevent promotion to the 
priesthood, provided it took place before the time of 
election to the priesthood. No priest can marry after 
he has been ordained to the priestly office. Second 
marriage is therefore prohibited to a priest. The first 
four orders are set apart by prayer only. The imposi- 
tion of hands is lawful in the ordination of the three 
higher orders. The catholikos is chosen by the synod. 
The synod is composed of the agent of the secular 
government, now Russian, the archbishops, princes 
and governors, and the bishops attached to the ponti- 
ficate of Etchmiadzin. The patriarchs are now ap- 
pointed by the catholikos. The lower offices in every 
church are filled by election by the congregation. All 
officers of the church are supported by contributions 
and have no stipend. The officers in a church are 
chosen to serve during life, except the priest, who may 
continue for a specified time. The term of service may 
be stated by the archbishop at the time of installation. 
The doctrinal system of the Armenians is not clear, 
either to priest or people. They have no standards of 
faith, unless the ritual can be called such. The theo- 
logical treatises of Nierses are considered good au- 
thority. The doctrine most conspicuously set forth 
by the Armenian Church, besides the principal tenets 



322 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

held by all Christians, is that " Christ was perfect God 
and perfect man, with spirit, will and flesh, one body 
and one person and one nature." They hold to the 
doctrine of the immaculate conception, and to regen- 
eration in baptism. The bread and wine of the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper they believe to be the real 
body and blood of Christ. I have not been able to 
find any Armenians of intelligence who hold to a 
mystical union of Christ with the elements after recep- 
tion by the communicant, as has been said to be the 
belief of Armenians. 

The Armenians agree with Papists in holding to seven 
sacraments. They believe that Christ's death atones 
for original sin, and that actual transgressions are 
atoned for by penance and the sacraments. Yet this 
conception is not clear with many, and there are those 
among them who say that Christ's sacrifice atones for 
all sins, but that it becomes efficacious only to such 
as comply with the ordinances of the church. They 
reject the doctrine of purgatory, and practise auricular 
confession. They believe in the intercession of saints. 
Christmas is observed by them on the anniversary of 
Christ's baptism. The baptism of infants is required, 
and immersion and pouring are both used in the same 
rite. 

Feast and fast days are very numerous, and religious 
rites are freely mixed with social customs. The Scrip- 
tures are greatly revered, although few Armenians of 
the rural districts, can read. Marriage occurs early in 



xv.] THE ARMENIANS— MARRIAGE. 323 

life, usually when the female is twelve years of age, 
rarely later than the fifteenth year. The ceremony is 
invariably performed by a priest, and is preceded, in 
most cases, a year, by a betrothal. The ceremony ob- 
served at the betrothal is held to be quite as binding 
as that of marriage. In the marriage service there 
occurs the curious promise made by the bridegroom 
that he will rule the woman. 

The greater part of the Armenian settlements in 
Persia were colonies of captives or offshoots of colo- 
nies of captives. About a. d. 1583 the Turks con- 
quered all Armenia as far as to the city of Tabriz. 
Being greatly persecuted and oppressed by the Turks, 
many Armenians fled to foreign lands. It is said that 
those living in "Arzakh, Uti, Shamokhy, and Ganza took 
refuge in Persia, and were allotted habitations by Shah 
Abas in the city of Ispahan." Here they established 
a large and flourishing colony, for we find that soon 
after this the Armenian pontiffs resorted to Ispahan to 
obtain funds for the payment of the debts of the pon- 
tificate. 

In a. d. 1603, Shah Abas led an army into north- 
eastern Armenia and drove the Turks out of the coun- 
try. Two years later the Turks assembled a large 
force with the purpose of retaking the country from 
the Persians. The Shah being convinced that he 
could not hold the possession, or prefering what seemed 
to be a more profitable expedient than battle, deter- 
mined to devastate the land, and to transport the in- 



324 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

habitants to Persia, before the Turks could concentrate 
their forces. The Persians were, therefore, dispersed 
throughout the country, driving before them the Ar- 
menians, together with their flocks and herds, to a 
rendezvous in a plain in the vicinity of Ararat. The 
Turks marched as far as Kars, before the Shah, who 
was at Erwandakert, gave the order that the captives 
should march toward the Aras River. The march, 
therefore, became a flight, and the movement of so 
many captives, and such quantities of baggage was 
accomplished with difficulty. The passage of the Aras 
was attended with great loss of life, so that no more 
than twelve thousand families, or about sixty thousand 
souls, were brought into Persia. Five thousand more 
followed soon after this. We are told that only the 
nobles and better class of citizens were allotted habi- 
tations in the capital. " The remainder were dispersed 
in the towns and villages of the surrounding country." 
Those who went to the capital were divided into two 
colonies, and inhabited different quarters of the city. 
Soon after this the forces of the Shah were sent to 
Tabriz and Erewan, and brought away ten thousand 
families who were settled in the districts called by the 
Armenian writer Gurapat and Vahrapat, unhealthy re- 
gions, where all perished in course of time. 

I have written of the settlement of Julfah near 
Ispahan, by colonists from the city Julfah in Northern 
Armenia. The founding of Julfah was subsequent to 
the occurrences related above. 



xv.] THE ARMENIANS— RELIGIOUS SERVICE. 325 

The number of Armenians now in the eastern dio- 
cese of Persia is three thousand families, or about 
fifteen thousand souls. The principal settlements of 
this people in Central and Eastern Persia are in the 
districts of Feradune Tcharmahal, Kamar, Kazas, 
Malair, and Karaghan, and the cities Julfah, Tehran and 
Hamadan. The inhabitants of the rural districts are 
very poor and ill informed. Quite all the villages are 
supplied with priests. Many of them have received 
the priesthood from their fathers as an inheritance. 
The priesthood in Karaghan has remained in one family 
during seven successive generations. Having no regu- 
lar stipend, the priest is forced by his necessities to 
obtain some compensation from the administration of 
the sacraments. 

The duties of the priest are to enter the church 
morning and evening, at sunrise and sunset, and to 
read the daily service, to bury the dead, and administer 
the sacraments. For the most part, the priests are 
very illiterate, having little or no knowledge of the 
Bible. The service is wholly in the ancient language. 
With this the priests are in part acquainted ; but the 
people are not able to understand more than fragments 
of the service. Very little special preparation is re- 
quired of the candidate for the priesthood. As the 
candidate is usually the son of a priest, he is familiar 
with the forms of the service. The necessary appren- 
ticeship in the lower orifices goes far to prepare for the 
higher functions. The candidates also remain a time 



326 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xv. 

in some monastery before installation. There are but 
few schools among these people in the country settle- 
ments. The Armenians of the cities are usually 
artisans and merchants ; they make very successful 
tailors and jewelers. Of all the non-Mohammedan 
sects they have acquired the greatest measure of influ- 
ence with the Persian Government. Many of them 
are employed in important positions, and as postmas- 
ters, telegraphists, and officers of the army. 

The Armenians have a distinct cast of features by 
which they may be known. They are distinguished 
from the other races also by a costume. It resembles 
the military cut, or the clerical coat. This, however, 
is common to the better class of people only. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Mission Establishments in Persia — Missions in 1870 — In 1884 — Ques- 
tion as to the Direction of Missionary Effort — Problem as to the Use 
of the Persian Language — Prejudices of the Sects — Testimony of 
Figures — First Schools — Public Worship — School for Jews — Circu- 
lation of Scriptures — Influence with the Persian Government — Med- 
ical Department — The Mission in Tabriz — The Mission in Hamadan 
— Interest among the Jews — Organization of the Eastern and the 
Western Persia Missions — Bible Agencies — Statistics of all the 
American Missions in Persia — The Chief Obstacles to Mission 
Work — The Religious Liberty of Non-Mohammedans declared — 
Restrictions Imposed by the Archbishop — Misrepresentations of the 
Missionaries — Ostracism of Protestants — Persecution of Jews in 
Hamadan — Similar Opposition in Oroomiah — The Law of Islam as 
to Apostasy — No Rights Secured by Treaty — The Unrestricted Sale 
of the Scriptures — Publication in Persian — Fanaticism — Unsettled 
Faith of the People — First Representative of United States Govern- 
ment to the Court of Persia — American Missionaries — Their Protec- 
tion — Benefits accruing to from Influence of United States Minister. 

I give below a brief statement of the principal features 
of the mission establishments in Persia. In the year 
1870 the only Protestant mission in the kingdom was 
that in the city of Oroomiah, under the auspices of 
the Presbyterian Church, in the United States of 
America. In the year 1884 the only missions were in 
the cities of Oroomiah, Tehran, Tabriz and Hamadan, 
under the patronage of the same American Society, 

327 



328 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

and the mission in Julfah, sustained by the Church 
Missionary Society of England. In the interval from 
1870 to 1884 missions have been undertaken by other 
societies, and have been discontinued. 

In preceding chapters I have written of the missions 
in Oroomiah and Julfah, and of the Roman Catholic 
establishments. It remains for me to give some account 
of the missions in other places. 

The mission in the city of Tehran was begun in the 
autumn of 1872, that in Tabriz in 1873, and in Hama- 
dan in 1881. Previous to these dates, Nestorian col- 
porteurs had for some time been stationed in these 
cities. In Hamadan, mission work had been carried 
on by native teachers and preachers, under the super- 
vision of the missionaries in Oroomiah and Tehran, 
from 1869 to 1 88 1. The Armenians are the only 
Christian sect in those three cities. 

It was a serious question in the opening of the mis- 
sion in Tehran, whether efforts should be directed 
especially and exclusively to the Armenians, following 
the example of the Mission to the Nestorians, or 
whether the missionary should seek to reach all 
classes, and make use of the Persian language for this 
purpose. If efforts were to be directed exclusively 
to the Armenians, it would then be necessary to make 
the Armenian language the medium of missionary in- 
struction, which would practically separate the mis- 
sionaries from the masses of the people, the Mo- 
hammedans, who speak the Persian and the Turk- 



xvi.] MISSION WORK— TEHRAN. 329 

ish languages. The Persian tongue is known by all 
classes of the people, but there was the possibility that 
the authorities of the State would forbid the use of 
the Persian language, owing to the fact that it is not 
the tongue of the non-Mohammedan races, and the 
use of it might be thought one evidence of an attempt 
to proselyte the Mohammedans to the Christian faith. 
It was determined, however, to make the Persian 
tongue the medium of missionary effort in teaching, 
and especially in preaching. It was also decided that 
it should be the declared purpose and aim of the 
mission here to reach all classes of the people, whether 
Christian or Mohammedan. The chief officer of the 
kingdom was informed by the first missionary stationed 
in the capital, in response to the inquiry of that offi- 
cer, that the object of the mission would be to reach 
all the people. 

The first evangelical efforts consisted chiefly in 
preaching, and in the sale of the Scriptures. The 
effect of this method was to form a congregation com- 
posed of Armenians, Mohammedans and Jews. It 
might be thought that the prejudices of the people of 
the different religions against one another would pre- 
vent any union in a religious service. 

It is the custom of every religious sect to use its own 
national and religious language in all religious acts. The 
Jew conducts the synagogue service in Hebrew ; the 
Mohammedan worships with the Arabic tongue ; and 
the Nestorian uses the Syrian, and the Armenian, the 



330 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

ancient language of that name. All of these tongues 
are, however, unintelligible to the most part of the 
people, and experience has proved that they receive 
with favour a service which they can comprehend ; and 
their prejudices yield to a better judgment. Statistics 
show that the missions conducted on this plan have 
as large a percentage of increase as those which are 
devoted exclusively to the evangelization of one race 
of the people. The Armenians being professedly 
Christians, it might be expected that they would be 
more easily influenced than Jews and Mohammedans. 
The first schools were patronized by the Arme- 
nians, and instruction was given in the Armenian and 
in the Persian language. The school for boys, in the 
course of a few months, contained forty pupils. In 
the spring of 1874 an Armenian woman was employed 
to instruct a school of Armenian girls. In the autumn 
of this year the school was removed to buildings 
rented for the purpose, and became a boarding school, 
with seventeen pupils instructed by Armenian teachers, 
under direction of the missionaries. The services of 
public worship were conducted in two or three places 
in the city of Tehran, and a church was organized in 
1876. In 1879 a school was opened among the Jews, 
with more than a hundred pupils. By means of 
native assistants, schools were opened among the 
Armenians in the mountains of Karaghan, in villages 
adjacent to Tehran, and in the city of Rasht, where, in 
1883, a church was organized. 



x vri.] MISSION WORK—STA TISTICS. 33 1 

The Scriptures in the Persian language have been 
carried to the principal towns of Central and Eastern 
Persia. From June, 1878, until now, 1 a Bible depot has 
been kept in the city of Mashhad, whence the Scrip- 
tures have been sent to Merv, and the Turkmans, and 
to Herat. The Bible has been sold also in the many 
settlements of the Armenians in Central Persia. Much' 
has been accomplished at Tehran, not only by these 
direct methods of evangelization, but by obtaining 
favourable orders from the Persian government in 
relation to schools and congregations in Azarbijan, 
Hamadan and other places. In later years a medical 
department has enlarged the sphere of influence, and 
the mission has maintained a service in English for 
the benefit of American and European residents in 
Tehran. The statistics of the mission for the year 
1884 show the number of pupils in the schools of 
Tehran to be one hundred and thirty-one, besides the 
pupils in Rasht ; and the average attendance at public 
worship was about one hundred souls, fifty or sixty 
of whom were Mohammedans. The medical mission- 
ary had prescribed for two thousand five hundred 
patients, and there had been printed in Persian four 
hundred and seventy-one thousand pages. A similar 
work had been carried on by the missionaries in Ta- 
briz, throughout the northern part of the province of 
Azarbijan, and in Georgia as far as to Tiflis. 

The language used in Tabriz is the Turkish. The 



332 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

pupils of the schools are Armenians ; but the congre- 
gations and church are composed largely of Moham- 
medans. In Tabriz effort has been directed to schools, 
the circulation of the Scriptures, the preparation of 
books in the Turkish as spoken in Azarbijan, to the 
medical department, and especially to the mainte- 
nance of congregations. The report of this mission 
for the year 1884 gives the number of pupils in all 
the schools as seventy- nine. A church was early or- 
ganized, and converts from the Mohammedans have 
been received to the communion. 

The mission in Hamadan has been greatly annoyed 
by persecutions started by the jews, and by orders 
of the government, which have, for a time, caused 
an interruption of the schools. Attempts have been 
made to maintain schools and public worship among 
both Jews and Armenians. Schools were opened in 
this city for Armenians as early as 1870. A church 
was organized in 1876 composed of Armenians. Re- 
ligious worship was in former years conducted in the 
Turkish language, but is now in either Persian or Ar- 
menian. A very great religious interest was excited 
among the Jews of this place in 1877-78, and some 
of them became members of the church. 

In the year 1884 the school for girls has the names 
of fifty-six pupils enrolled during the year. A school 
for Jewish girls had, at one time, as many as twenty- 
five pupils. The school for Jewish boys numbers fifty 
scholars. The average attendance of the congrega- 



xvi.] MISSION WORK— STATISTICS. 333 

tion is reported to be about sixty souls. These figures 
represent the first years of missionary work, when 
many difficulties were to be met. They do not, there- 
fore, indicate any true proportion of the real work 
accomplished by the missionaries. 

In 1 88 1 the mission stations of Tehran and Hama- 
dan, with the assistants and congregations under their 
supervision, were constituted a separate mission, and 
called the Eastern Persia Mission ; and the stations 
of Oroomiah and Tabriz were united in one organiza- 
tion, and called the Western Persia Mission. In 1880 
an agency of the American Bible Society for Northern 
Persia was established at Tabriz, and an agency of the 
British and Foreign Bible Society for Southern Per- 
sia was appointed at Julfah. 

In a previous chapter I have given the statistics of 
the Mission to the Nestorians in the year 1871. The 
report of that station for 1883-84 gives the number of 
church members as one thousand six hundred and 
one ; an increase in thirteen years of about nine hun- 
dred communicants. The reports of the two missions 
of Eastern and Western Persia for the year 1884 indi- 
cate the progress made in the interval of the thirteen 
years. At this time 1 the number of stations occupied 
by American missionaries is four, and the whole num- 
ber of missionaries, male and female, on the ground, 
is twenty-four. The native assistants, chiefly in the 
Nestorian Mission, are in all two hundred and thirty, 

1 1884. 



334 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

and the churches twenty-five, with one thousand seven 
hundred and ninety-six communicants. There are 
two hundred and eight pupils in boarding-schools, 
and two thousand four hundred and fifty-two in the 
day schools. The contributions have amounted to 
$1,910. The number of attendants in the congrega- 
tions is four thousand five hundred and seventy-eight, 
and the number of pages printed is one million six 
hundred and eighty thousand eight hundred and 
ninety. The chief obstacle to mission work in these 
cities has been the intolerance of the Persian govern- 
ment and of the non-Mohammedan sects. 

The government of Persia makes a wide distinction 
between its Mohammedan and its alien subjects as to 
the matter of religious liberty. In former years, and 
before missionary enterprise was known in the land, 
the religious head of every sect was recognized as the 
secular and spiritual ruler of his own religious order. 
When, therefore, the people were led through mis- 
sionary influence and teaching to accept new senti- 
ments as to faith and worship, the ecclesiastical 
authorities attempted to prevent the change by coer- 
cion ; and they inflicted fines and imprisonment 
and other punishments. An appeal was made to the 
Persian authorities. These were Mohammedans, and 
there was no law to which they were required to con- 
form. Their decisions, therefore, were often contra- 
dictory, and were dependent upon the prospect of 
personal gain which might be presented to the judge. 



xvi.] MISSION WORK— IMPEDIMENTS TO 335 

In 1842 the Persian government issued an order that 
" No native Christian should be proselyted from one 
sect to another;" but in 185 1 an order was given 
granting the largest liberty to non-Mohammedans, in- 
cluding the right of proselyting. In 1878 the Prime 
Minister of Persia issued an order declaring the right 
of the Jews in Hamadan to accept the Christian faith. 
An order to the same purport was given by the Prime 
Minister in 1881, but the effect of this was in great 
part broken by orders which were issued in the fol- 
lowing year — that no authority should be given to 
foreign missionaries to purchase property or establish 
schools. These orders relating to foreigners did not, 
however, directly infringe upon the religious liberty of 
the non-Mohammedans. 

It seems to be pretty well settled that the Persian 
authorities will maintain the religious freedom of alien 
subjects. The unsettled state of the law touching 
this subject, together with the violent tendencies of 
the priesthood, have given rise to persecution and vio- 
lent proceedings in quite every place where missions 
have been opened. The Armenian archbishop, of 
Julfah, in 1873, prohibited attendance on Protestant 
congregations. The Protestant missionaries were 
represented to the king as persons desirous of sub- 
verting both the Armenian and the Mohammedan 
faith. Armenians who identified themselves with 
Protestants were ostracized, and in some instances 
beaten by order of the priest. The priest in Shevarin 



336 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

caused the Protestant teacher to be expelled from the 
village. The Jews of Hamadan who adhered to the 
old ways succeeded in influencing the governor to fine 
some of the Jews who had become Christians. The 
Christian Jews were prohibited from frequenting the 
baths and the markets which were owned by Jews. In 
the year 1883 a Christian Jew was arrested and fined 
for serving as a teacher of Christian Jews in Hamadan. 
Persecutions of this sort were continued during several 
years. 

In Tehran, in 1883, a combination was effected by 
a few Jews to break up the school established in the 
Jewish quarter. The life of the principal teacher was 
threatened. A rabbi who taught in the school was 
forced to leave, and the number of pupils was reduced 
from forty to fifteen by means of threats against the 
parents. Even the children were beaten in the streets 
as they came to the school. The opposition was 
broken up only by the arrest of the ringleaders by 
the Persian authorities in Tehran, and the imposition 
of a fine. The mission in Oroomiah has met with 
like opposition from the bishops and priests of the 
Nestorian Church, and from the caprice of Moham- 
medan rulers, during half a century. 

The progress of the missions among the non- 
Mohammedan people has formed a precedent in favour 
of religious liberty, and it appears to be pretty clearly 
settled that the authorities recognize the right of every 
man in the kingdom to his own religious convictions, 



xvi.] MISSION WORK— IMPEDIMENTS TO 337 

except a Mohammedan. Every child of a Moham- 
medan father is, by Mohammedan custom, held to be 
a Mohammedan, and the reception by the child of any 
other religious faith than that of his parent, is held to 
be apostasy. 

The efforts of the missionaries in behalf of Mo- 
hammedans are hindered by the intolerance of the 
so-called laws of Islam, and especially by the intol- 
erance of the Mohammedan religious orders, and the 
fanaticism of the people. The spirit and practice of 
this people have been generally thought to be such 
as to make any missionary effort for them impracti- 
cable. This impression is wrong. There are methods 
of evangelical effort for these people, which are prac- 
ticable and fruitful as the facts and figures of such 
effort indicate. In Persia, no religious rights have been 
secured by treaty as in Turkey and other countries. 

In the year 1880 an order was issued by the Persian 
Minister of Foreign Affairs, through the British Min- 
ister, to all missionaries in Persia, forbidding them to 
give instruction to Mohammedans, or to allow Moham- 
medans to attend the public services of Christian 
worship. 

In the following year the missionaries notified the 
Persian authorities that they could not assume any 
responsibility for the attendance of Mohammedans 
upon the public worship, and asked relief from the 
order. The particular feature which seemed to fur- 
nish ground for complaint and for expectation of 



338 THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

relief was that, by the order, the missionaries were re- 
quired to act as a police over Mohammedans for the 
protection of Islam. Upon this representation by the 
missionaries the matter of the attendance of Moham- 
medans was referred by order of the Shah to the 
police. The missionaries assumed no responsibility 
for the attendance of any one class of people. Mo- 
hammedans attended the Christian assemblies previous 
to this order, and have continued to attend since. They 
were, however, very often intimidated. 

In former years in Tehran, spies were sent by the 
mullahs to the mission chapels, and the persons attend- 
ing were warned, and some were cited before a mujta- 
heed and admonished. These measures succeeded in 
preventing the attendance of Mohammedans for a time. 
In Tabriz the Mohammedans who frequented the Chris- 
tian congregations were arrested and publicly flogged. 
In Tehran the attendance of Mussulmans in the con- 
gregations has, of late, been greater than in previous 
years. No objection is made by the authorities to the 
sale and circulation of the Scriptures in the Persian 
language, and Christian books receive the sanction of 
the censor of the press. These books are also pub- 
lished by Mohammedan printers in Tehran. 

There is much fanaticism in Persia, but this is no 
indication of strength in Islam. That faith appears 
to be held by a very slight tenure. That it is so held 
is shown by the readiness with which the people adopt 
any new system of religion as that of the Bab. The 



xvi.] RELIGIOUS SKEPTICISM. 339 

doctrine of the twelfth Imam, and of the Mahde, has 
prepared the minds of the people for change, and 
the absurdities of the system of the Twelve Imams 
has gone far to shake the faith in Islam. 

Religious skepticism prevails among all classes of 
the people. The intolerance of a few secular rulers 
and mullahs serves to prevent a reformation, but it 
increases more than it hinders infidelity. Unbelief is 
widespread. It is not skepticism concerning one re- 
ligion, but all religions. The religious nature and 
superstitious regard for some sacred rites, hold the 
masses of the people to the national faith ; while the 
intolerance of the secular and religious authorities 
exclude the knowledge of any system which might 
commend itself to the people as more rational and 
desirable than that which now prevails. 

The government of the United States was never 
represented in Persia until a.d. 1883. Mr. S. G. W. 
Benjamin was the first representative of this govern- 
ment, at the court of the Shah. He entered Tehran 
in June, 1883, as Minister Resident and Consul-gen- 
eral. During near fifty years, the American mission- 
aries were the only Americans in Persia, and they were 
protected, as occasion required, by the British, the 
French, and the Russian Legations. In the greater 
part of this time, however, their interests were kindly 
cared for, by the British Legation. It could, not be 
otherwise than that the arrival at the capital, of a 
Legation of the United States, should create in the 



34Q THE LAND OF THE IMAMS. [xvi. 

mind of the Shah, and of the officers of the Persian 
government, a greater interest in America and Ameri- 
cans. The missionaries were in a position to reap the 
benefits of this interest, and the Minister, in the brief 
period of his residence in Tehran, was able to secure 
for them, from the Persians, some valuable conces- 
sions. 



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342 



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Nestorians, Asian, A Tale of. 1858. 
Nestorians, Missionary to : D. T. 

Stoddard. New York. 1858. 
Dawnings of Light in the East : H. 

A. Stern. Purdy. 1854. 
Travels and Adventures of Rev. 

Joseph Wolff. Saunders, Otley 

& Co. 1861. 
History of Persia — General Sketch 

of: C. R. Markham. Longmans. 

1874. 
Travels in Koordistan : J . B. Fraser. 

Bentley. 
Journey into Khorasan : J. B. 

Fraser. Longmans. 1825. 
Travels in Georgia, Persia, and 

Babylonia, etc. : Sir R. Ker. Por- 
ter. Longmans. 1821. 
Travels of Sir John Chardin into 

Persia, etc.: Bateman, 1691. 
Travels in Luristan and Arabistan : 

Baron C. A. De Bode. 2 vols. 

Madden & Co. 1846. 
Mountain Nestorians — Dr. Grant : 

Thomas Laurie. D. Lothrop. 

Boston. 1874. 
Land of the Lion and the Sun ; 

Wills. London. 1882. 



TABLE OF DISTANCES 


AND ALTITUDES. 








Altitude above 




Names of Places. 


Farasangs. 


the level 
of the sea. 




Oroomiah to 




4200 ft. 




Tabriz " 


33 3 A 


4200 ft. 




Tehran 


96 — 100 


3500 ft. 




Rabadkareem " 


6 


4500 ft. 




Khanabad " 


8 


4200 ft. 




Kushak 


6 






Pass of the Karaghan Mts. " 


2 


6700 ft. 




Bevaron " 


3 






Nobaron " 


4 


5300 ft. 




Mara " 


4 


5600 ft. 




Zara M 


4 


5300 ft. 




Malagird " 


5 






Pass 




61 CO ft. 




Hamadan 


6—48 


6100 — 6500 ft. 




Kamkasie " 


6 


6500 ft. 




Pass 


y* 


7500 ft. 




Diza " 


3 


5900 ft. 




Korba " 


3 


6150 ft. 




Tchibooklee 


3 


6000 ft. 




Daghelan " 


river 3 


5900 ft. 




Pass " 


1% 


6300 ft. 




Keyomar " 


iVz 


6600 ft. 




Pass " 


1 


7300 ft. 




Senah " 


2—24^ 


5100 ft. 




Chemook " 


3 


5400 ft. 




Pass 




6150 ft. 




Kaltevand " 


2 


6300 — 6500 ft. 




Dewandarah " 


6 


5000 ft. 
6200 ft. 
7050 ft. 




Pass 


2 

4 




" 


4 


5000 ft. 




River '* 


3 


4800 ft. 




Pass " 


1 


55oo ft. 




Sahib " 


1 


5100 ft. 




Gaghatai River " 


1% 


5000 ft. 




Sakis " 


3— 23M 


5000 ft. 




Saru " 


2 







Kara " 


4 







Memikan " 


5 







Talava " 


2 


6000 ft. 




Souj Bolak *' 


3 — 16 


4400 ft. 




Oroomiah 


2oyi 





Tehran 


to Resht 


S3 


60 ft. bel. level 




Anzile " 


5 


" " •• 




Baku 


240 miles. 


11 ii 11 




Tiflis 


353 " 


1500 ft. 




Pote 


130 " 


Black Sea. 


Tehran 


to Ispahan 


71 farasang. 


4200 ft. 



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